Pirelli World Challenge's 2017 "Roar By The Shore" Re-Titled To "A River Runs Through It"
The Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) is noted to bring a level of competition in sport car racing that delivers strong yet unexpected results. This third race of the 2017 PWC series season follows two races in Saint Petersburg Florida when the Verizon IndyCar Series also opened its 2017 season ... also by the shore.
But, hey, The Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach is squarely based in the land of fruits and nuts ... and Hollywood productions, so why not just script something memorable into this special sportscar racing mix. After all, this event is the longest continuous running temporary street course on the IndyCar schedule which has become a "Rites Of Spring" hallmark event in American motor culture.
On Lap 10 of the 50 minute timed race, as if on cue to bring in a very unique course hazard, not too dissimilar to golf course sand traps, someone up the hill on Ocean Blvd. ran over and broke a fire hydrant causing a massive amount of water to flow across the back straight between Turn 8 and Turn 9, setting up a potential for additional destruction due to a hydroplaning kind of skim-boarding (aero-sealed racing undercarriages) at well over 100 mph.
How cool ... professional auto racing with the unexpected addition of a water feature.
|Water hazard interrupts Round 3 PWC race course. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2017)|
Alvaro Parente, who got off to a very tight start from his pole qualifying position, was leading the race at the time with Patrick Long, winner of round two at St. Petersburg, in his No. 58 911 GT3-R close in tow.
"That was a little crazy with the water on the track," said the Portuguese born Parente in the post race press conference. "I went into that turn [Turn 8] and all of a sudden there was a river in front of me, so I just went foot off throttle, and prayed that I wouldn’t crash or anything, and just skidded through the puddle. It was last-minute for me; you’re flat out on that straight and suddenly you see a black shadow there, the water from the fire hydrant."
As for longtime factory Porsche competitor and local racer Long running in P2, "It was probably 20 feet of running water and with slick tires at 140 mph, that’s not what you want to see. It’s one of those situations where you sort of just stay calm, sort of relax, and let it end. I’m happy we didn’t have an incident and everyone responded really well, so hats off to the track and World Challenge series for their handling of an unnatural disaster. But, that’s Long Beach and that’s street racing. This series is about sprint racing and everybody’s racing hard."
Jim Jordan, a manufacturer motorsports executive for over 25 years in various roles and currently is a part of the Pirelli World Challenge management posted this on his Facebook timeline:
My good friends know I have always valued collecting experiences more than anything else. This season I have taken on a new responsibility in race control for the Pirelli World Challenges races. Not particularly complicated but I serve as the communications link between Race Control and the TV production crew. Most times this means fairly simple communications.
Today not so much. During the middle of our GT/GTA race at Long Beach there was an accident on Ocean Blvd where a vehicle wiped out a fire hydrant. We did not know this of course, but the corner workers quickly reported a "flood" coming down to the track!
|All hands on deck! Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2017)|
It was a weird situation, and the team did an amazing job of reacting without over reacting, fixing, communicating, and only losing 1 minute total of racing [Red Flag - 15 minutes]. It was very impressive to see the way the group worked together, from the track crew, to IndyCar [Holmatro Safety Team], to SCCA Cornerworkers, IMS Productions, and the WCVision staff. Very fun to have been a part of, and I imagine it will go down in "racing lore," the Long Beach Flood!
Full Race Results >>>
Naw, this 43 year old Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach venue deserves a water feature hazard incident with the verve of a Hollywood title - "A River Runs Through It."
... notes from The EDJE
TAGS: Pirelli World Challenge, Long Beach, roar by the shore, a river runs through it, Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach, Alvaro Parente, K-PAX Racing, Patrick Long, Wright Motorsports, Bryan Sellers, Jim Jordan, Holmatro Safety Team, Water, The EDJE