Irish Mike’s Racing Faces New Challenge – Street Racing at Long Beach
Big team trip west as Carrera Cup joins huge California event
LONG BEACH, CA (4 April 2022) – Irish Mike’s Racing is set to take on a new challenge this weekend, when the Florida-based team enters two cars in Round 2 of the IMSA Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by Visit Cayman Islands during the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend.
The team will field a brace of Porsche 992s in a pair of 40-minute races on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary circuit, Irish Mike’s first venture into street competition. Conor Flynn will drive the No. 95 FlynnCo Cars / Chillout Systems entry in the Porsche Pro class, while Craig Conway will pilot the No. 97 Diamond Suzuki Porsche in the Porsche Pro-Am division.
Set thousands of miles from the team home base and running between the unforgiving concrete walls, Long Beach will be a huge change from the recent season opener at Sebring International Raceway. Flynn took 15th in both races on the bumpy airport-based circuit, while Conway took 15th and 16th in Pro-Am.
“Street racing is one area that I am completely foreign to,” Flynn said. “I’m extremely excited to finally get that opportunity. Living in Florida, every year I’m teased with the St. Petersburg Grand Prix, so I’m extremely excited about Long Beach. I can’t wait. With the full paddock it should be very interesting. We’ll be pushing to the limit, for sure.”
Irish Mike’s took advantage of the break between races to better prepare for Long Beach and the other upcoming events.
“We did some testing to work on the setup of the car,” Flynn said. “Our eyes are now on Long Beach. A lot of the teams have never been there before, or haven’t been there in a long time. And, no team has brought this car to Long Beach. Everyone will be in the same setup scenario as we are.”
While Conway never competed at Long Beach, the veteran’s street racing experience includes events at Toronto, Dallas, New Orleans and Three Rivers.
“I’ve raced at street courses before,” said Conway, who finished third in the final points last season. “They can be very interesting, and I’m looking forward to Long Beach. We’ve gotten through the first races in good shape, so now it’s on to the next challenge.”
Given the logistics of closing public roads for the competition, the event features a truncated schedule. Porsche Cup competitors will have a 40-minute practice session at 8:30 a.m. (all times PT) and 30-minute session at 11:05 a.m., with 30-minute qualifying at 4:30 p.m. The opening race will be Saturday at 10:45 a.m. Porsche Cup has the honors of closing out the weekend with race two on Sunday at 4:20 p.m.
Paige N. Grimmer