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Watkins Glen Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***The GTP Balance of Performance for this weekend has seen track-specific tweaks again, with the Cadillac V-Series.R the biggest mover in terms of minimum weight, having lost 13 kg since the last round in Detroit. The Acura ARX-06 has shed 6 kgs, while the Porsche 963 gains 2 kgs and the BMW M Hybrid V8 remaining unchanged at 1030 kg.

***In terms of power, the Acura remains at 520 kW (697 hp), while the BMW gains 4 kW (5.3 hp), with a mere 1 kW (1.3 hp) increase for the Porsche and 1 kW reduction for the Cadillac.

***The only BoP change in the GT categories has been made to the Ford Mustang GT3, which has been given a 2 mm larger air restrictor, equating to an 18.5 hp increase. The car also has a 2 liters of additional fuel capacity to compensate for the power boost.

***Harry Tincknell told Sportscar365: “It’s not a big difference. I think at the end of the straight, we’re a little bit better than maybe what I recall some of the more supercars, like the McLaren and Ferrari. You barely get to sixth gear here, so it’s not really a track you’re going to feel it massively. Maybe when you get to Road America, you’ll see a bigger difference, but here, it’s quite small.”

***Chip Ganassi, making a rare Friday appearance in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship paddock amid a NTT IndyCar Series race this weekend, told Sportscar365 that he’s “optimistic” of remaining in the GTP class next year. Ganassi denied that he was at Watkins Glen for meetings. Sportscar365 believes that CGR has not yet been ruled out to run one of the Acura ARX-06 cars next year.

***It’s widely believed that Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti is poised to take over CGR’s Cadillac effort with a two-car operation next year, in what’s likely to result in a significant driver shakeup, with Ricky and Jordan Taylor understood to be on long-term Acura contracts and Louis Deletraz and Filipe Albuquerque tied to WTRAndretti.

***Pipo Derani could become the third IMSA GTP driver to take part in the LMP2 headline race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next month, with the Brazilian star indicating to Sportscar365 that he’s likely to drive the No. 88 AF Corse Oreca 07 Gibson with Luis Perez Companc. Derani would sub for Lilou Wadoux and Nicklas Nielsen, the latter who will be on FIA World Endurance Championship duty at Interlagos.

***Derani would join Deletraz and Renger van der Zande, as revealed by Sportscar365 on Thursday, in the LMP2 class for the CTMP race.

***The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo will again feature Spencer Pumpelly for the CTMP round according to team principal Ian James, who also confirmed Zach Robichon for the two remaining sprint races that do not clash with the WEC, at Road America and Virginia International Raceway, respectively. Robichon has driven in the Endurance Cup races up until now.

***Porsche Penske Motorsport WEC driver Michael Christensen is on-site this weekend in a reserve driver and engineering liaison capacity. The team’s managing director Jonathan Diuguid explained to Sportscar365 that it will rotate through its ten-driver pool to have an extra driver on-site at most remaining WEC/WeatherTech Championship rounds to also assist with interfacing with the engineering staff.

***Diuguid said that Felipe Nasr will be at the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo WEC round next month, while Dane Cameron will be traveling to Fuji Speedway and Matt Campbell will be on-site for the six-hour IMSA Battle on the Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A reserve driver for Motul Petit Le Mans has not yet been determined.

***It marks the second weekend this year that Porsche Penske has a reserve driver on-site, with Cameron having served in a similar capacity at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend.

***Nico Varrone has been nicknamed “Jim” by AF Corse after winning Le Mans in the LMP2 Pro-Am class last weekend. The name comes from an initial misunderstanding of his first name, after introducing himself as a “GM” factory driver. Varrone is making his debut with DragonSpeed this weekend in LMP2.

***While there are 15 drivers that are attempting to compete in all three 24-hour races this month (Nürburgring, Le Mans and Spa), only Klaus Bachler is also set to compete in this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, with the Austrian rejoining the No. 86 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GTD class.

***The conflicting IndyCar race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend has ruled out a handful of drivers from competing three-driver lineups in the GTP class, most notably Romain Grosjean, who has been contracted to Lamborghini Iron Lynx for the Michelin Endurance Cup races, plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this year.

***Of note, it will mark the first-ever race for the Lamborghini SC63 featuring a two-driver lineup, with Andrea Caldarelli joined by Matteo Cairoli in the No. 63 entry.

***As is the case for all GTP cars competing this weekend, the Lamborghini is a different chassis to what was run last weekend at Le Mans, owing to the tight turnaround between events this year.

***The Gonzalez siblings, El Paso natives, grew up working in short track racing but this weekend Alan, Mike and their little sister Lorena work together professionally for the first time with Lone Star Racing. Car Chief Alan, 29, also handles driver change assist on pit stops. Mike, 36, works full-time at the Lone Star race shop in Cresson, Tex., while Lorena, 25, lives in Austin where she works for fellow Mercedes-AMG team Esses Racing.

***Lorena was a last-minute addition to the team this weekend after Lone Star’s usual team member handlings driver and crew support on the hospitality and logistics side was sidelined due to an illness.

***Cadillac’s “No Perfect Formula” documentary chronicling the brand’s first year of GTP/Hypercar competition on its road to Le Mans after a 21-year absence is now available on YouTube. Click Here to watch.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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