Detroit, Mich. (28 May 2019) – Mustang Sampling Racing is gearing up for another street fight in the Motor City this weekend, and Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque are up to the challenge in Saturday’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on the tight 2.3-mile Belle Isle Park circuit.
Barbosa and Albuquerque came home victorious driving the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in Long Beach, CA in April, the only other street course on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule.
The Mid-Ohio round provided a disappointing outcome after bad luck with pit lane entry timing resulted in an eighth-place finish. But with six of the 10 races remaining, the team is focused on developing momentum in the push through the second half of the 2019 championship season.
Mustang Sampling Racing’s Bobby Banks suffered an ankle injury while changing the front tires on a pit stop during the Mid-Ohio event. Banks is back to work at the shop and is looking forward to rejoining the over-the-wall pit crew.
“We had a tough weekend at Mid-Ohio but we are ready to bounce back in Detroit,” said Albuquerque, who will be heading to Le Mans for the 24 Hour later this month. “We were very fast at Long Beach, but even though it is also a street circuit, this is a different track. We will just see where we are when we get there. We are all hoping for a fast recovery for Bobby and hopefully we can give him something to celebrate with a big result.”
Barbosa has enjoyed success at the Belle Isle Circuit – located in the shadows of General Motors’ world headquarters. He won at Detroit in 2012, leading a 1-2 finish for Action Express Racing, in addition to finishing third in 2015 and second in 2016 in the Mustang Sampling Corvette DP.
“I’m looking forward to a good weekend,” Barbosa said. “We are going to be halfway through the championship after this weekend, so it is a good place for us to be going. I like the race and Filipe (Albuquerque) is strong there, too. Mid-Ohio wasn’t the best for us, but there are a lot of races remaining. We know that if we can be consistent from here, we have a chance.”
The 100-minute sprint will showcase two of the four WeatherTech Championship classes, with the DPis joined by the GTD class.
“The traffic doesn’t change much with just having the GTD class there—it is still a challenge to manage that and not get caught in a bad spot,” Barbosa said. “But that is just part of the challenge in sports car racing. The track has a nice flow to it, and there is a little bit of a challenge with the bumps in a few places too so that can make it interesting when you are not on the race line for passing GT cars.
“The event is a good one, they put a lot of activities on for the fans and it is great to go to a place where everyone is into the race. I think Detroit does a really good job with that and of course it is the home race for Cadillac, so we get to see a lot of our friends that weekend. Detroit is one of the races that you always look forward to.”
Qualifying for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear is set for Friday at 5:45 p.m. (all times ET). The race will be televised live on NBCSN, beginning at 12:30 p.m.