No driver in the Long Beach paddock will have as much track time this weekend as Ryan Hunter-Reay. And that’s just fine with him. The 29-year-old native Texan will saddle up in one of Level 5 Motorsports’ two LMP Challenge entries alongside team owner Scott Tucker for Saturday’s Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach.
It will be the second start in the American Le Mans Series for Hunter-Reay, who also will drive for Andretti Autosport in Sunday’s IndyCar race. He is the first driver to run both series on the same weekend since Ryan Briscoe did the double for Penske Racing at Belle Isle in 2008.
“This year I’ve been driving with Level 5 quite a bit. It’s a great team and the opportunity really presented itself where I could do both races,” said Hunter-Reay, who posted the fastest LMPC race lap at Sebring. “Both teams are pretty cooperative letting me drive in both series. It shows that they have a lot of faith in my abilities. I’ve been used to jumping in and out of race cars pretty quick. So I think I can adjust to things pretty well.”
His career at Long Beach dates back to 2002 in Formula Atlantic (he was 18th but started second and had the fastest lap of the race). Hunter-Reay has raced there in both Champ Car and IndyCar.
There is no set plan for how many LMPC events Hunter-Reay will see this year; it’s more of a matter of how the schedules fall. He is hopefully though that his prototype exploits will lead to another pretty big race that features racing on public roads as well…
“I really would like to race Le Mans,” he said without pause. “That’s really one of the things I want. It’s a fantastic race and something I definitely hope to do at some point in my career.”
-- Courtesy American Le Mans Series