IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back after the Le Mans break, where all the classes came to Watkins Glen for Sahlen’s Six Hours Of The Glen.
Beside the usual IMSA championship it was also a part of Michelin Endurance Cup, which consists of the longer races on the calendar: Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. The race was six-hour long and thus some of the teams brought an extra driver.
Mazda Team Joest #77 with Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Timo Bernhard had taken Pole Position among the Dpi cars, ahead of Acura Team Penske #6 and #7. Mazda Team Joest #55 was fourth, followed by all the Cadillacs, with CORE autosport Nissan #54 as the slowest car.
PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52 with Matt McMurry, Gabriel Aubry and Eric Lux took Pole in the LMP2 class, in front of Performance Tech Motorsports #38.
Antonio Garcia drove Corvette Racing #3, that he shared with Jan Magnussen, to Pole Position in the GTLM class, ahead of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing #67 and Corvette Racing #4.
GTD class had Meyer Shank Racing Acura 1-2 with #86 driven by Mario Farnbacher, Trent Hindman and Justin Marks on Pole, in front of #57 with Christina Nielsen as the driver who set the time, and she shared the car with Katherine Legge and Ana Beatriz. Turner Motorsport BMW #96 started the race in P3.
Moorespeed Audi #19 unfortunately couldn’t participate in the race, since Will Hardeman had a big accident under the first practice on Friday, which damaged the car so much it was impossible to drive.
Porsche #911 was under repair on the starting grid, due to a problem in the Sunday warm-up, less than an hour before the start of the race. But they got the car ready in time for the warm-up lap.
AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus #12 had to start the race from the pitlane because the team didn’t manage to come out of the pitlane before it closed.
Acura Team Penske #6 changed a tire on the grid and had to start from the pitlane. The rules in IMSA state that you have to start the race on the same tires that you qualified with, and if you fail to do that you have to start last.
Mazda Team Joest #55 attempted to come up to second place already in Turn 1, but didn’t make it past.
In the GTLM class there was a contact between Laurens Vanthoor in Porsche #912 and Corvette Racing #4, which sent Tommy Milner in #4 hard to the armco where he ended up sideways. Ben Keating in Riley Motorsports – Team AMG Mercedes #33 clipped the spinning Corvette and it pushed him to the armco, too. Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini #48 was unlucky to run over some debris and ended up with a puncture on his left rear tire.
Pfaff Motorsport Porsche #9 also brused the spinning spinnende Corvette, which cost them a front bumper and a puncture.
It deployed the Safety Car, so the Corvette and Mercedes could get removed. It was super unlucky for Corvette Racing, since it was their reserve car after Marcel Fässler’s accident at Le Mans, where the primary car got damaged – and now this one as well.
Acura Team Penske #6 was fortunate with the early SC period, so at the restart they were ahead in the field right behind all the other Dpi cars.
The restart was chaotic, where Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #29 attempted to overtake both Heinricher Racing w/Meyer Shank Racing #57 and WeatherTech Racing Ferrari #63. There was a contact between the three, and it ended up with Christina in #57 losing two positions, but they all could continue.
Whelen Engineering Cadillac #31 got a puncture on the left rear tire and brushed their teammates in Mustang Sampling #5, before Felipe Nasr drilled the car in the gravel in the run-off area.
It caused another Safety Car period, so Nasr’s car could get pulled out of the gravel. After than he could drive back to the pits by himself to get a new set of tires, rear wing and a new bonnet, since all of those were broken due to the puncture.
Juncos Racing Cadillac #50 and CORE autosport Nissan #54 both got a 60-second Stop & Go penalty for driving out of the pits under red light, after their pitstop in the SC period.
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing #67 had overtaken the lead in GTLM, while Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86 holdt fast i føringen i GTD. Performance Tech Motorsports #38 had taken the lead in LMP2.
Mazda Team Joest #55 came up to second place in the race as Harry Tincknell got a good slipstream down the straight, while Ricky Taylor in Acura Team Penske #7 was in the middle of going past slower cars.
The two Mazda Team Joest cars swapped positions after their first pitstop, since #55 could drive an extra lap. They both were, however, behind Mustang Sampling Cadillac #5, which had had a pitstop early in the race and thus was in a different strategy from the Mazdas.
JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac #84 had driven 6 mph too fast in the pitlane, and got a Drive-through penalty.
An hour into the race there was drama in the GTLM class, when Ford Chip Ganassi Racing lost two places on the same lap, so Corvette Racing #3 was leading, ahead of BMW Team RLL #24. #67 had a short off-track moment, where the car wouldn’t accelerate for Richard Westbrook as it should. The Englishman said afterwards that the adjustable steering column was loose, so he had to fasten it again. It is something that’s used in the driver change, so that it can be adjusted to the individual driver.
JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac #85 had a solospin but could quickly move on, even though Misha Goikhberg had a little kiss with the tire wall in Turn 9.
Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #29 had a broken rear wing after the contact with the two GTD competitors earlier in the race. The mechanics tried to repair it with a hammer and some tapes – but there were still four and a half hours left on the clock, so they were doubtful it would last that long.
100 minutes into the race, there was a commotion between JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac #84 and Magnus Racing Lamborghini #44, who hit each other on the way into Turn 5. Whelen Engineering Cadillac #31 was also involved but they could escape without spinning.
The stranded #84 and a broken tire barrier caused a Safety Car period – but all the GTLM cars except Ford Chip Gannasi Racing #66 managed to pit before the pit exit was closed.
Stephen Simpson drove #84 back to the pits, with big damage on the car’s rear and it required a new rear wing and bonnet.
Two hours into the race, Mazda Team Joest #77 was in the lead, ahead of #55 and Acura Team Penske #7. Performance Tech Motorsports #38 led LMP2, in front of PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52. In GTLM it was BMW Team RLL #25 in the lead, followed by Corvette Racing #3 with Jan Magnussen behind the wheel and BMW #24. In GTD, Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #29 was leading, ahead of Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86 and Turner Motorsport BMW #96. Christina Nielsen’s Heinricher Racing w/Meyer Shank Racing Acura #57 was sixth in GTD – with Ana Beatriz behind the wheel.
JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac #84 got a ten-second Stop & Go penalty, for refuelling while the pit was closed – and for not coming back to the pits to refuel while it was open.
Paul Miller Racing #48 was in trouble when Corey Lewis had to drive the car slowly to the pits, and the mechanics spotted a problem with the engine.
After two and a half hours, Corvette Racing #3 with Jan Magnussen behind the wheel came in front in GTLM again, with a nice overtake against Tom Blomqvist in BMW Team RLL #25. All 7 GTLM cars were still within eight seconds of each other, so absolutely nothing was decided.
JDC-Miller Motorsports #85 and Turner Motorsport BMW #96 had a contact in the penultimate corner, which gave #96 a puncture. Lucikly, Bill Auberlen could get the car back to the pits – but it was a shame for the team who had been in the top three for the most of the race. Bill was just out of his pitstop, so it was an extra pitstop for the GTD team. #85 got a Drive-through penalty for the offence.
Porsche was a bit faster in their third regular pitstop in GTLM, so #911 came out in the lead, in front of #912 and Corvette Racing #3.
Halfway into the race, Mazda Team Joest #55 was leading, ahead of Acura Team Penske #7 and Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac #10. In LMP2, Performance Tech Motorsports #38 continued to lead, with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52 in second place. GTLM was led by #911, then followed by #912 and #3, while WeatherTech Racing Ferrari #63 led the GTD class, in front of Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #29 and AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus #12, while Nielsen’s Acura #57 was P4.
Ana Beatriz had driven Heinricher Racing w/Meyer Shank Racing Acura #57 up to third in GTD, and was catching up the leader.
CORE autosport Nissan #54 had a problem, where Colin Braun stopped on the track, but luckily on a stripe of asphalt which wasn’t used this weekend. Thus there was no need for a SC period and they could let the car stay there.
Jan Magnussen could, in his 150th race for Corvette Racing, hand the car back to Antonio Garcia in P3 in the GTLM category, with both Porsches within reach.
Park Place Motorsports Porsche #73 had to unfortunately retire with a technical problem, that the team couldn’t solve.
Two and a half hours before the finish, there was a collision between Helio Castroneves in Acura Team Penske #7 and Matt McMurry in PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52. Castroneves dived very late in the overtake and the two touched. The stewards chose, however, not to penalise any of the drivers.
Mustang Sampling Cadillac #5 and BMW Team RLL #25 brushed each other on the track, but without causing any damage on the cars.
JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac #84 got a harsh penalty: 60-sekunder Stop & Go, for speeding in the pitlane. It was also “only” 34 miles too fast, so fair enough…
The two Mazda Team Joest cars were close, as Tristan Nunez in #77 was stuck behind Joao Barbosa in Mustang Sampling Cadillac #5. #5 was on the fence of being overtaken on the next lap but Barbosa wouldn’t give in. So instead of doing something reckless, Nunez stayed behind. They soon would have to do something about it, since Acura Team Penske #6 with Dane Cameron was lightning fast behind them, catching them up with one and a half seconds per lap. It wasn’t a smart move by Barbosa in #5. Mazda chose to “solve” the problem by calling #77 in to pit, and got away with the slower Cadillac ahead of them.
Corvette Racing #3 had gotten a problem with the radio contact to Garcia in the car, so they had to use the old-fashioned pitboard to let the Spaniard know when to pit etc. In the next pitstop, the mechanics tried to solve the problem while they refuelled and changed tires – but to be safe, Garcia also got a piece of paper with notes, in case the radio still wouldn’t work.
Mazda Team Joest #55 came to the lead, when Olivier Pla drove some really good laps before his pitstop, so he came out ten seconds ahead of his teammate Oliver Jarvis in #77.
Performance Tech Motorsports #38 did a super late dive on Porsche #911 in the chicane, where there was a contact between the two cars. Andrew Evans in #38 spun around in the middle of the track and got hit by BMW Team RLL #25, who was right behind him. #25 got some damage on the front of the car. At the same time, there was a lead change in GTLM when #25 got past #911.
#38 came back to the track after a few minutes of repair, but it stalled in Turn 7. Evans couldn’t restart the car, and it caused another Safety Car period. The race director decided to give all the teams an opportunity to pit, before he sent the SC out, since normally the pitlane would be closed.
The Dpi teams chose to pit under the SC period and it gave some interesting changes. Acura Team Penske #6 was fast to get their pitstop done, so they were the new leader. Mazda Team Joest #55 didn’t have to refuel as much as their sister car #77 and came out in second place.
The majority of the GTLM teams also chose to pit, so Porsche #911 was now leading, ahead of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing #67 and #66. Some of the GTD teams also pitted – but Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86 was still in the lead, followed by their sister car #57, now with Katherine Legge behind the wheel, while Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi #29 was P3. PR 1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52 was the only LMP2 car that was still running, after Performance Tech Motorsports #38 stopping on the track earlier.
The race got restarted with 67 minutes left.
Mustang Sampling Cadillac #5 got a drive-through for overtaking under yellow flag – not that it would make any difference for them, since they were alone in sixth place, one lap behind the leader and with two laps down to their teammates in #31.
AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus #12 got a penalty for driving on the track without mounting the seatbelt – drive-through penalty.
Harry Tincknell in #55 was up beside Juan Pablo Montoya in #6, but he had to merge behind him again, since Montoya isn’t a driver you can simply outbrake on the way into the chicane.
The damage on the bonnet of BMW Team RLL #25 got worse and worse, so the team called the car in for an extra repair. While they refuelled the car, some of the fuel got spilled and it ignited a fire behind and under the car. Luckily, Connor De Phillippi could come out of the car and the mechanics quickly put off the fire. But it meant #25 was out of the battle for the top spot.
Corvette Racing #3 and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing #66 had a close duel for third position, but Dirk Müller in #66 could keep Garcia behind him.
The two GTD Acuras #86 and #57 were the first to pit for the last time, followed by AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus #14 one lap later.
Acura Team Penske #6 and the two Mazda Team Joest cars #55 and #77 drove in a long stripe, where the distance changed all the time.
42 minutes before the finish, Tincknell dived past Montoya, with a little bit of contact between the two cars – but #55 was now the new race leader. Afterwards Jarvis in #77 tried to get past, but it required some traffic to get the two close together.
Starworks Motorsport Audi #8 had the lead in GTD, and tried with Ryan Dalziel to get all the way to the finish without pitting again. The team would, however, need a bit of luck with a Safety Car period, plus he was one and a half seconds per lap down to Mario Farnbacher in Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86 in P2.
Mazda Team Joest #55 was the first to pit in the DPi class. It became clear that one of the holders of the rear wing was broken, but the team only inspected it shortly, and sent Tincknell back to the track.
Mazda #77 got past Acura #6 in a pure duel between the two refuelling men, where the cars at the same time got four new tires on. Therefore it was a Mazda 1-2 with half an hour left on the clock.
Porsche had a 1-2 lead in GTLM, but they both were on different strategies, and #912 would have to pit again, if there was no Safety Car period towards the end of the race.
The two Mazdas kept setting fast laps, and pulled further and further away from Acura #6. In fact, they were close to driving the fastest lap of the race, so there was a lot of pressure for Tincknell and Jarvis.
Katherine Legge in Heinricher Racing w/Meyer Shank Racing Acura #57 was right behind Toni Vilander in WeatherTech Racing Ferrari #63, in the battle for fourth place in GTD, which would turn into P3, if Starworks Motorsport Audi #8 in front of them pitted. #8 was also under pressure by Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86, which had plenty of fuel left, while #8 was on economy mode. With 16 minutes left, #86 took the lead in GTD. Turner Motorsport BMW #96 was the next car to drive past #8.
Nick Tandy in Porsche #911 and Antonio Garcia in Corvette Racing #3 were within a couple of seconds of each other, in the battle for second place, which would become a battle for the lead when #912 pitted.
Mazda Team Joest #55 started to lose parts of its bonnet. That part began to flap in the wind, which would turn into a parachute down the straight, which then cause #77 to close the gap.
Starworks Motorsport Audi #8 pitted with 12 minutes left and was therefore out of the podium battle in GTD. But they couldn’t start the car again, so the mechanics tried to push it down the pitlane, until they got stopped by the officials. They had to push it half the pitlane back, trying to get the car to start again. They fell back to the last place in GTD, which was a shame for the team.
Turner Motorsport BMW #96 was within a second of Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86, with five minutes left – as well as Porsche #911 being under a second in front of Corvette Racing #3.
But after six hours of intensive racing, Mazda Team Joest #55 with Harry Tincknell, Olivier Pla and Jonathan Bomarito was the first to cross the finish line, ahead of their teammates in #77 with Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Timo Bernhard, while Acura Team Penske #6 with Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron was third.
The LMP2 category was won by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #52 with Matt McMurry, Gabriel Aubry and Eric Lux, in front of Performance Tech Motorsports #38 with Kyle Masson, Cameron Cassels and Andrew Evans.
There was a battle until the very end in the GTLM class, but it was Porsche #911 with Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet who won, ahead of Corvette Racing #3 with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing #67 with Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe. The victory marked 50 years for Hurley Haywood’s first victory for – in exactly a Brumos coloured Porsche. Which was why both #911 and #912 ran with Brumos livery again this weekend.
Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86 won GTD with Trent Hindman, Mario Farnbacher and Justin Marks, in front of Turner Motorsport BMW #96 with Bill Auberlen, Robby Foley and Dillon Machavern, with WeatherTech Racing Ferrari #63 with Toni Vilander, Cooper MacNeil and Jeff Westphal in third.
Heinricher Racing w/Meyer Shank Racing Acura #57 with Christina Nielsen, Ana Beatriz and Katherine Legge finished on a vexed fourth place, after spending most of the race in P2.
Acura Team Penske #6 leads the DPi championship, Performance Tech Motorsports #38 is leading LMP2, and Porsche #911 now leads GTLM in front of Corvette Racing #3, while Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86 leads the GTD championship.
The next IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race will be run already next weekend, with Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Canada as the destination.