Indy star Ryan Hunter-Reay is in for an intense weekend as he slotted to compete in both IndyCar’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Prototype class of the IMSA race.
Aside from his Andretti Autosport duties, Hunter-Reay will be moonlighting in the Visit Florida Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype in place of Ryan Dalziel who will be competing in the World Endurance Championship season opener in England.
Hunter-Reay is no stanger to the Corvette DP, having been in the car for both the Daytona 24 and the 12 Hours of Sebring earlier this season. However this is the first time since 2009 that he will be competing in two different disciplines in the same weekend.
“The last time I did a double was with A.J. Foyt Racing at Homestead, when I was also driving for Level 5 Motorsports,” Hunter-Reay commented to Motorsport.com. “That was different because the IndyCar race was on the oval and the ALMS race was on the road course.
“What I’m doing at Long Beach with Andretti Autosport and Visit Florida Racing is on the same track. jumping back and forth between sessions. It’s going to be pretty intense.
“I have to thank Michael Andretti who’s allowing me to do this, and I appreciate [VFR team owner] Troy Flis who hired me to drive in the endurance races this year. But with Ryan [Dalziel] away, it was cool to get the invite to do one of the short IMSA races. ”
Hunter-Reay went on comment that the swapping cars throughout the weekend would have its pros and cons.
“It would be one thing if I hadn’t driven a DP car for quite some time, but I’ve been in both (IndyCar and DP) a lot in the last month. I know the two driving styles of the cars, so that’s the easy part.
“Where it’s hard, regardless of my experience, is finding the last few tenths because they are completely different driving styles. It’s two different grip levels, the turn-in points are different, braking points are different. I’ll have to compartmentalize the two styles so they don’t get confused.”
Across the two disciplines Hunter-Reay will be on track for an estimated 9 hours from Friday to Sunday.
“I’ll have to work the schedule so it optimizes my focus in each car. When I’m in the DP [on] Friday morning, that’s all I need to think about. When I move to my IndyCar, that’s all I need to think about. If I’m trying to worry about both at the same time, that’s where problems would occur.”