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WeatherTech Championship

Watkins Glen Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***Four cars were moved to last place in their respective classes due to minimum drive-time infractions: No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (Jan Heylen), No. 04 CrowdStrike by APR Oreca 07 Gibson (Colin Braun), No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 (Frederik Schandorff) and No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo (Scott Andrews).

***Heylen, Braun and Andrews missed the adjusted minimum drive time of 69 minutes, due to the red flag stoppage, by less than eight minutes, while Schandorff only completed 32 minutes of drive time in the race.

***It’s understood IMSA completed a lengthy audit process on drive times immediately following the race and had promptly announced the penalties for the Nos. 04 and 120 cars well before podium ceremonies. Both cars had crossed the line in second in the LMP2 and GTD classes, respectively.

***No update has been provided by Iron Lynx, when reached by Sportscar365, as of the time of the publishing on Sarah Bovy. IMSA confirmed she was transported to a hospital for further evaluation following her race-ending accident in the No. 83 Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2.

***Porsche Penske Motorsport scored its third IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory of the season, with Felipe Nasr and Dane Cameron becoming the first repeat driver pairing to visit victory lane so far this season in the GTP class.

***The duo extended their championship lead to 93 points over the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac pairing of Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais, with Porsche Penske teammates Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy third in the standings, a further 39 points behind.

***It marked Nasr and Cameron’s fifth podium finish out of six races this season.

***Porsche Penske managing director Jonathan Diuguid hailed the race as a “banner day” for the team, one year after losing the Watkins Glen victory over a technicality with the skid block thickness for the No. 6 Porsche, which finished third on Sunday.

***Diuguid said: “Our cars were incredibly fast in the race. The team did a great job under changeable conditions. I’m particularly pleased that our No. 7 advanced to the top of the overall leaderboard thanks to this victory. We now have a longer break until the next race at Road America. It’s nice to head into this break with a victorious feeling.”

***Nasr said he felt IMSA made the right call to red flag the race due to the amount of standing water on the track at the time. “You could barely stay within 60 km/h,” he said. “You could see the cars aqua-planing. I think it was the right call. Since it’s warm, it didn’t take long for the track to dry. At that point it was critical.”

***Renger van der Zande said his No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R didn’t have the top-end speed to match the competition in the class during the race. He said: “It was very clear from the get-go that every time I went to power, there was just not enough power to attack. Third gear, fourth gear, fifth gear, the gap was always increasing on every straight.”

***The Dutchman, however, praised IMSA for continuing to provide close racing, falling short of criticizing the Balance of Performance. “I have to say hats off for this championship to get to where it is,” said van der Zande. “It’s super equal, lap time-wise, very equal. Big compliment from that. We would [just] like to race a bit more.”

***The No. 25 Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 finished sixth after starting from the pit lane due to a chassis change following Connor De Phillippi’s accident in second practice. The spare car, the team’s test car, only arrived at the track from RLL’s shop in Indianapolis at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, and required a number of the components, including the drivetrain, to be transferred to the car per IMSA regulations.

***BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos said: “The herculean effort of BMW M Team RLL and the BMW M Motorsport crew in rebuilding the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 was remarkable and deserves great recognition. Thank you to all involved for their fantastic commitment!”

***The No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac had a race to forget, with two separate spins by Jack Aitken, while the car sustained damage with Pipo Derani at the wheel that required an unscheduled stop for a nose change that put them a lap down en route to an eighth place result.

***The No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini SC63 of Matteo Cairoli and Andrea Caldarelli, which ran as high as third in the race, retired with cooling-related issues with just over two hours to go. Racing director Emmanuel Esnault said: “It was sad to end the weekend with an issue, especially after Le Mans where we showed great reliability. Still, we can be satisfied with the progress we are making in terms of performance.”

***Gar Robinson’s four-race win streak at Watkins Glen came to an end with a runner-up class finish in LMP2 in his No. 74 Riley Oreca 07 Gibson that he shared with Felipe Fraga and Josh Burdon. Robinson had been undefeated in IMSA competition at The Glen dating back to the 2021 double-header.

***Fraga and Robinson, however, have taken over the lead of the LMP2 points standings following clutch failure for the No. 18 Era Motorsport Oreca of Ryan Dalziel, Dwight Merriman and Connor Zilisch, which came after Merriman spun around on the opening lap.

***The No. 04 CrowdStrike Oreca of George Kurtz was not penalized for contact with the No. 47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 of Roberto Lacorte in the opening hour, which sent the GTD car into the wall. IMSA race control determined no further action due to the weaving of the Ferrari prior to the incident.

***Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas delivered the first win for the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo in North American sports car competition. The updated-for-2024 car claimed its maiden win in global competition earlier this year in SUPER GT with D’station Racing.

***A fifth place class finish for Seb Priaulx and Laurin Heinrich has seen their GTD Pro points lead reduce to 49 points over Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat, with Gunn having closed into third in the standings, just 60 points behind the AO Racing duo.

***The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari, which started on GTD Pro pole, ended up retiring from the race on the final restart after sustaining toe link damage from an off-course moment during the previous downpour with Davide Rigon at the wheel. The team initially planned to make repairs but ultimately ran out of time.

***Team manager Anna Lenzi explained: “During the heavy rain when nearly all cars were racing on slicks and everyone was going off-track, Rigon went off track in Turn 1 going very slowly, maybe just 50 or 60 kilometers per hour, and he hit the wall. It ended up being a hard hit that bent the left rear toe link.”

***With their fourth win in five races, Winward Racing’s Philip Ellis and Russell Ward have expanded their commanding points lead to 305 points over the Turner Motorsport duo of Patrick Gallagher and Robby Foley with five races to go.

***An all-time record attendance for an IMSA event at Watkins Glen International was announced by track president Dawn Burlew on the pre-race grid. It continued the streak of attendance records at IMSA races this year.

***While the GTP class does not return to action until Road America in August, LMP2 will serve as the headline class for the WeatherTech Championship’s trip North of the Border to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, alongside GTD Pro and GTD entries on July 12-14.

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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