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WeatherTech Championship

Watkins Glen Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Watkins Glen…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

***The No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 is expected to be ready for tomorrow’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, despite Sage Karam’s heavy hit in qualifying that saw in extensive front-end damage. TRD President and General Manager Dave Wilson told Sportscar365 that the damage was not as bad as Scott Pruett’s accident at Long Beach that resulted in a bent chassis and an ironman effort to get the car on the grid.

***Pipo Derani’s pole in the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi was the first for Onroak’s new-for-2017 chassis in prototype competition worldwide. It ended up being a front-row sweep for the French constructor, with Olivier Pla qualifying second in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson.

“It’s a great day for Onroak,” Derani told Sportscar365. “Obviously as you can imagine there’s a lot being done back in France. It shows again. It wasn’t the perfect start to the year for them with a new car. But if you work hard and work with a lot of passion in your heart, you can achieve it.”

***There was also a first in GT Daytona, with Andy Lally’s class pole in the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 the first for the car in international competition as well. Lally and Katherine Legge gave the Acura its maiden class win last time out in Detroit. “It’s all a testament to these guys at Michael Shank Racing, Acura and HPD,” Lally said.

***Both the No. 14 3GT Lexus and No. 54 CORE autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R will be starting from the rear of the GT Daytona grid due to a change of starting tires. The No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09, meanwhile, has changed its starting driver, but was due to start last in the overall prototype field anyways. Click Here for the provisional starting grid.

***IMSA has recognized all of the podium-finishing drivers in last month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with commemorative signs on each team’s pit wall. Among the podium finishers here this weekend are Derani (Ford, GTE-Pro), Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor (Corvette, GTE-Pro) and Cooper MacNeil, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell (Scuderia Corsa, GTE-Am).

***It’s understood there are no plans to again split the round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca into two races, due to pit lane capacity limitations. The event featured two-hour Prototype/GT Le Mans and Prototype Challenge/GT Daytona races last year, with PC not returning, and believed to have been the limiting factor for separate races in 2016.

***IMSA President Scott Atherton said it’s not determined if they would adopt Balance of Performance adjustments to LMP2 machinery, should the FIA and ACO make any changes in the future. “Ideally we would remain in lock-step,” he told Sportscar365. “But we have to make decisions based on what’s best for the IMSA WeatherTech Championship.”

***It’s understood the global-spec LMP2 cars are not subject to BoP, although a large disparity in performance seen in last month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans has prompted questions whether the FIA and ACO would jump in to make changes anyway, to prevent the category from turning into a spec class.

***Atherton stressed the top-performing LMP2 car has remained as the performance baseline in the Prototype category in the WeatherTech Championship, and will do so, for the foreseeable future. He said IMSA, on their own accord, will not make any BoP changes between the different LMP2 cars.

***Ed Brown arrived at the track Saturday afternoon, less than 72 hours after undergoing emergency back surgery. The President and CEO of Patron Spirits, whose back condition has prevented him from competing in his final Prototype race, told Sportscar365 that he’s unlikely to return to the wheel of a prototype again, with a focus on selected races in a yet-to-be-determined GT3 car next year.

***Continental Tire has brought more than 4,700 tires to Watkins Glen this weekend, for use either in the WeatherTech Championship or Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Continental also supplied the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda series, which featured a bizarre, rain-impacted Race 2 on Saturday.

***The latest issue of Michelin’s “The Alley” trackside publication has been released, focused on Ford Performance. Each of the five Michelin GTLM class technical partners: Corvette Racing, BMW, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche are being featured in special issues throughout the year. Click Here to view the latest edition.

***Be sure to download Andy Blackmore’s Spotter’s Guide, featuring all 38 starters for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Click Here to download the guide.

***FOX Sports 1 will carry live coverage of the race, beginning at 10 a.m. ET, before switching to FS2 at 1 p.m. through the finish of the race. International viewers can tune into for full coverage featuring commentary from IMSA Radio.

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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