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Watkins Glen Friday Notebook

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

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***A total of 38 cars are set for this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, with both the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier JS P320 Nissan and No. 7 Forty7 Motorsports Duqueine D08 Nissan being no-shows after initially appearing on the entry list. It has resulted in a seven-car LMP3 class for Sunday’s race.

***For the second consecutive event, fans are allowed in the paddock of an IMSA event, with fan grid walks also scheduled prior to both the Michelin Pilot Challenge (Saturday, 1:40-2:15 p.m. ET) and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (Sunday, 9:20-10:20 a.m.) races.

***In a late decision, an additional 30 minutes was added onto Friday’s opening practice session for Bronze-rated drivers only.

***Harry Tincknell said Mazda’s Balance of Performance break ahead of this weekend has been a “moderate adjustment” and was something “we probably should have already had before” this weekend. The Mazda RT24-P has been given an increase in power but largely across lower RPM levels, which co-driver Oliver Jarvis says equates to “almost nothing” at Watkins Glen according to their simulations.

***No fewer than 11 drivers have arrived directly from the official TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa test days, which occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday: Nick Tandy, Augusto Farfus, Mathieu Jaminet, Matt Campell, Laurens Vanthoor, Tim Zimmermann, Ross Gunn, Mikael Grenier, Maro Engel, Lars Kern and Don Yount.

***Friday’s opening practice marked Jaminet’s first laps of the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit. The Frenchman was not part of WeatherTech Racing’s private test last month which saw Cooper MacNeil and Matt Campbell turn laps in the Proton Competition-run Porsche 911 RSR-19.

***MacNeil said it seems like “six months” since Sebring, with the 28-year-old having competed in two European Le Mans Series races as well as claiming four wins in Ferrari Challenge North America competition in the 97 days since notching GT Le Mans class honors in the Florida endurance classic.

***WeatherTech Racing was the first privateer entrant to win in GTLM since Team Falken Tire in 2015.

***United Autosports, which debuts its new Ligier JS P320 Nissan LMP3 entry this weekend alongside the returning Oreca 07 Gibson in LMP2, prepped both cars at its new satellite workshop in West Palm Beach. The Anglo-American team returns to Watkins Glen for the first time since 2018 when it ran a Ligier JS P217 Gibson for Phil Hanson, Bruno Senna and Paul Di Resta.

***United team co-owner/managing director Richard Dean told Sportscar365 that its LMP3 car is upgraded from a Ligier JS P3 chassis that was run in the Michelin Le Mans Cup last year.

***Marco Andretti, who is set for his first sports car race in nearly ten years, will not be arriving at Watkins Glen until late on Saturday due to his SRX commitments. The Tony Stewart-led series is racing at Eldora Speedway on Saturday.

***Sportscar365 understands that the cause of the No. 36 Andretti Autosport’s late-race retirement at Mid-Ohio was left-rear hub failure, a similar issue that also struck the No. 6 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier LMP3 in the IMSA Prototype Challenge race.

***Experienced BMW driver Augusto Farfus is racing at Watkins Glen for the first time this weekend. It marks a rare visit to a new circuit for the Brazilian: “On the way here I was trying to think when was the last time that I went to a race track which I didn’t know,” he told Sportscar365. “The only track which popped into my mind was Bathurst in 2017.”

***While making his first DPi start at Watkins Glen, Jimmie Johnson took part in the 2010 Six Hours of The Glen in a GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Chevrolet DP, finishing sixth alongside co-drivers Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney.

***As was the case at Daytona and Sebring, the No. 48 Ally-sponsored Cadillac DPi-V.R is receiving support from Hendrick Motorsports, with Johnson’s longtime NASCAR crew chief Chad Knaus again on the pit box along with other Hendrick crew in combination with Action Express Racing staff.

***LMP3 teams are now permitted to utilize ORECA’s VK56/VK50+ Clutch Evo Kit for all races. This was previously only permitted for races over three hours in length.

***Progress is understood to have been made on the convergence of the Le Mans Hypercar and LMDh regulations following an in-person meeting with manufacturers, constructors as well as FIA, ACO and IMSA representatives in Paris last week.

***Sportscar365 understands the meeting largely centered on the current front-wheel hybrid deployment and differential advantage of equipped LMH cars compared to LMDh machinery, which will utilize a rear-wheel mounted spec hybrid unit. 

***Currently, the LMH’s front-wheel hybrid systems are only activated at speeds above 130 km/h.

***Corvette Racing has reserved a two-day test at Virginia International Raceway in mid-November for “development GTE/GT3” purposes that will see both its Nos. 3 and 4 entries in action. The manufacturer has yet to confirm its 2022 plans although is known to be working on a conversion kit to allow its current GTE-spec Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs race in GTD Pro under a waiver by IMSA.

***The build of a fourth race chassis will allow Corvette Racing to rotate its fleet of Corvette C8.Rs according to team manager Marc Maurini, who confirmed that the new chassis will debut at Road America in August as the new No. 4 car for Tandy and Tommy Milner.

***The current No. 4 chassis will be utilized in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the No. 64 car in France, alongside the No. 63 Corvette, which is already in Europe after taking part in the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener at Spa last month with Oliver Gavin and Antonio Garcia.

***Longtime program manager Doug Fehan has retuned to Corvette Racing in a new ambassadorial role that kicked off earlier this year. Fehan will continue to participate in Corvette Coral events and other fan-related activities but is not currently scheduled to attend the 24 Hours of Le Mans on behalf of the team.

***Michelin Pilot Challenge team owner/driver Ted Giovanis, who took part in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, has released a book “Beyond Fear: How I Fought the Feds for Six Years — and Won” that chronicles his battle with the U.S. government over Medicare reimbursement rates.

***Team TGM’s pair of GS class Chevrolet Camaro GT4.Rs are carrying special liveries this weekend promoting Giovanis’ book, which was released on Tuesday. 

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

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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