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TAYLOR: Watkins Glen Debrief

Jordan Taylor files his latest Sportscar365 column following The Glen…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

The Six Hours of The Glen is one of the best events on our schedule. It’s one of America’s greatest road courses which has tons of history.

The track has always been an old school, high speed track. They recently did a repave of the track, and we went four seconds faster than we had ever gone around there. The surface is perfectly smooth and has very high grip.

We went into the weekend tied for the points lead, but knew it was going to be a tough weekend for us.

Our main focus was to race our own race, knowing it was going to be tough to win, but to maximize our points.

Practice was uneventful. The car rolled off the car with a great balance, we just had some fine tuning to do. Ricky had a mega lap in qualifying to put us P4, 7 tenths ahead of all the other Corvettes.

Ricky had his usual great start and jumped up to P2 on the first lap. The first few hours were pretty uneventful. We were taking it pretty easy trying to stay out of trouble and not taking much risk through traffic.

I got in just after the two-hour mark into the race. It was one of the more intense races I’ve been apart of. Nobody wanted to give any room. Lots of GT cars and PC cars were blocking more aggressively than usual, not wanting to give any time up.

With the speed differential in some of the high speed sections, it made it tricky to read the traffic. I had some good battles throughout the race with a few of the guys in our class.

It was nice to finally race with my old friend Spencer Pigot. We’ve known each other for about 15 years, but never actually competed against each other.

The turning point of my stint was after my first full stint. We were running seventh or eighth on track and decided not to take tires, just fuel.

We left the pits right on the ESM car on cold tires and were able to get around him up the Esses. The 31 was about eight seconds up the road on cold tires and we caught him by the end of the first full lap.

He tried to make a pass on the 60 up the Esses, where you don’t pass, and went through the grass. They both lost momentum because of it and we were able to get by the 60 into the bus-stop and then the 31 in the boot.

Then lastly, the 90 was rolling out of the pits, and we were able to just barely beat him. So we were able to get all the way up to third on a great pit stop and strategy call.

From there, not too much happened for me. We went into fuel saving mode to try and push our last stops.

We were able to go two laps longer than the 5 and one lap longer than the 31, which helped open up strategy for the end of the race.

Unfortunately, we never gained the track position that we needed to contend for the race win, but ended up with a fourth place finish.

Not ideal, but it could have been a lot worse. We’ve left Watkins Glen the past three years with much worse results and still been in contention of the championship, so it’s not all bad.

We’re heading straight up to Canada now for the next event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. We won there last year, so hopefully we can have a repeat!

Jordan Taylor (@jordan10taylor) is the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series DP champion, driving for Wayne Taylor Racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Corvette Racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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