Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will race twice in 48 hours this weekend, participating in both the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Apr. 17 and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event the day before.
Hunter-Reay was already slated to drive his regular No. 28 Andretti Autosport entry in the Grand Prix on Sunday. But per Racer, with IMSA driver Ryan Dalziel having a scheduling conflict that will keep him out of the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing car in Long Beach, Hunter-Reay has been tapped as his substitute.
It makes perfect sense as Hunter-Reay will already be on site and has previously driven the No. 90 in endurance races at Daytona and Sebring earlier this year, helping pilot the car to the podium for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. But it also means that the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner will have a tremendously busy schedule, with double the practice sessions and qualifying runs on top of competing in two separate races.
“It would be one thing if I hadn’t driven one of those cars for quite some time, but I’ve been in both a lot in the last month,” he told Racer. “I know the two driving styles of the cars. I’ve been driving IndyCars and DPs for a long time, 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,” Hunter-Reay continued. “It’s two different grip levels, turn-in points are different, braking points are different. I’ll have to compartmentalize the two styles so they don’t get confused.”
Many IndyCar drivers pursue challenges in other leagues throughout the year, but Hunter-Reay may be one of the most prolific. Aside from his IMSA driving, he also competed in the international Nations Cup and Race of Champions this off-season and drove the pace car for January’s Tournament of Roses Parade.
Meanwhile, he currently sits a solid fourth in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings, 18 points behind Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya and the top-ranked Honda driver in the league.
While this is an exceptionally large workload for him to tackle it further proves how committed of a driver he is. It’s also good news for fans headed to Long Beach as it means they’ll have not one but two opportunities to see Hunter-Reay race. The IMSA event takes place from 4:05 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 16 while the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach happens from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Apr. 17. Tickets to both days are now available through the GPLB website.
For more on the Verizon IndyCar Series, visit the league’s website.