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Apr 08, 2014 - 08:06 PM
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ZF Motorsports Long Beach Newsletter
Posted by: newsla on Apr 08, 2014 - 08:04 PM
ZF Motorsports Long Beach Newsletter

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship prototype points leader Joao Barbosa and his Action Express team are looking to extend their lead heading into the first of two street races on this year's schedule. Long Beach and Detroit will require different approaches than the natural road courses that complete the TUDOR Championship schedule.


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"Long Beach was only my second race in the United States back in 1997," Barbosa said. "The track configuration has changed, so I'm curious to see what I will find when I get there this weekend. I had a good race back in '97 finishing fourth, but our goal at Action Express is more than that. As championship leaders, we would like to leave Long Beach in the same position."

The series has raced on the modified oval circuit at Daytona and the natural road course in Sebring. Long Beach demands a different discipline.

"I don't think, set-up wise, that we will be that much different from Sebring. At Sebring we were using max downforce and I think Long Beach will not be too different. Also as everyone knows, Sebring is very bumpy and it's necessary to have a very good shock package. Long Beach, because it's a street course, would be the same with slightly less grip. We need to find the right gear ratios and find the right damper package to find the most grip possible. There are also the concrete barriers, that line the track, to keep in the back of your mind."

Another twist on the weekend is a reduced race schedule. The TUDOR Championship race will take the green flag at 6:10 p.m. Saturday and run for only 100-minutes.

"In a two-hour race, strategy will play a big role. Track position will be very important so we have to be aware of that and use the safety car procedure the best we can and not to lose any time. With two drivers, we have to be aware of the minimum mandatory driving time to get championship points, but you definitely don't want to leave that driver change for too late in the race."

Long Beach Rich in F1 History, ZF Was There

In 1975, more than 46,500 fans invaded the streets of Long Beach to watch Brian Redman capture the inaugural edition of the Long Beach Grand Prix in Jim Hall's T-332 Boraxo Lola. ZF has been involved in Formula 1 racing since the legendary Mercedes Silver Arrows took to the track in the 1930s.

In the "royal league" of motorsports, the racing cars of Scuderia Ferrari - the most successful team in Formula 1 history - as well as the vehicles of Sauber Ferrari and Lotus Renault drive with shock absorbers and clutches from ZF.

With the 2014 Formula 1 season underway, ZF Motorsport is in the thick of the world championship. Last month, ZF partner team Ferrari and its driver Fernando Alonso finished fourth and scored its first points of the season at the in Malaysian GP. Last year's world championship runner-up Ferrari F14 T is equipped with dampers from ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

"ZF supplies clutch, dampers and steering systems to many teams that race in FIA championships around the world," said Moritz Noeding, head of ZF Motorsports sponsoring and communication. "For instance our Formula 1 clutch will spin at 22,000 revolutions per minute, transfer 800 Nm of torque, has an outside diameter of 111 mm (4.4") with carbon friction material held together by a titanium housing. The clutch is just 1.4-inches larger than a hockey puck. ZF will help teams win on the streets of Long Beach, at the Nurburgring and ride along with Audi at Le Mans with our clutch and special steering systems."

ZF racing technology is on race tracks around the world in its smallest and lightest form in Formula 1 to its largest on semi-trucks in the European Truck Racing Championship.

Long Beach Grand Prix - Longest Running Street Race

The morning of March 26, 1977 would forever change the City of Long Beach. Little did anyone know that Chris Pook, an auto racing fan turned travel agent, was about to put the city on the international sports map and spark a business, travel and financial renaissance that continues today.

In 1977, Mario Andretti avoided a first-lap, multi-car collision, then went on to outduel Formula 1 stars Jody Scheckter and Niki Lauda to become the first American to win a F1 race in a U.S. Grand Prix.

"Mario's victory really changed the whole image of the race," said Jim Michaelian, now the President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach and the race's financial officer in 1978. "We made the New York Times, Sports Illustrated and the race was all over the local and national news."

For the next six years, a decidedly international ambience settled over the city each Spring. Romantic car marques like Ferrari, Renault and Brabham shared headlines with equally-romantic, internationally-famous drivers like Jacques Laffite, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet.

In 1984, ChampCars replaced Formula 1 as the feature event. "We weren't exactly sure if the ChampCars would have the same mystique for race fans," Michaelian said. "But we didn't miss a beat." Thanks to Mario, who put his Budweiser-Haas Lola under the checkered flag...and again put the race back into headlines around the country.

American names have dominated the streets of Long Beach ever since, winning 14 of 28 races. Al Unser Jr. was the victor six times, including a remarkable four straight from 1988-91. Mario Andretti visited Victory Circle four times and his son, Michael, is a two-time winner. California's Jimmy Vasser won the race in 1996. In May 2008, the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach signed a five-year agreement with IndyCar that continues to this day.

The race also played a vital role in the Long Beach renaissance. Downtown, the old movie houses and boarded-up buildings were replaced with office buildings, restaurants and gleaming new hotels.

On April 13, the words "Drivers, start your engines!" will mark the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach's 40th race.

ZF Motorsports Race Reporter Video Library

The ZF Race Reporter series is in full production. The videos, hosted by Motor Racing Network's Tony Rizzuti, show race, event, and technical features from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, inclduing the popular ZF Fan Reporter segment Past and future editions can be viewed at www.Facebook.com/zfmotorsport. Look for new content from TUDOR Championship events at Daytona, Sebring, Detroit, Watkins Glen, Indianapolis, and Road Atlanta.

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