IMSA – 194 Cars Entered at Watkins Glen Races This Weekend

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on IMSA - 194 Cars Entered at Watkins Glen Races This Weekend

If AutoInformed’s sums are correct, 194 cars will compete in a total of eight races.

One of the questions to be answered at races surrounding the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen this weekend is what automaker among several racing titans owns the track? Forty-nine cars are entered for the six-hour feature race on June 26 that is the seventh event of the 2022 WeatherTech Championship season.

It is the third round of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. All five classes will be in competition together for the first time since the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March. The five classes are DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTD PRO and GTD fighting against and among each other with the largest car count at Watkins Glen in eight years. (AutoInformed: Sebring 12 Hours – Bumps, Twists, Turns in Oldest US Race,Team Corvette C8.R Finishes First at Sebring)

The 49 cars entered are the most for a WeatherTech Championship event at Watkins Glen since 2014. Support races have attracted record numbers, too. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America doubleheader race weekend has 38 entries, seven more than its best a round in the series’ 10-year history. The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race has 44 cars. Expected are 34 in the Porsche Carrera Cup* North America Presented by the Cayman Islands races. There are 29 in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires doubleheader. If AutoInformed’s sums are correct, 194 cars will compete in a total of eight races. Watkins Glen Entry List (Click here)

The Glen is the first race in the U.S. since May 1 for Corvette Racing and the rest for the field of competitors in the new GT Daytona (GTD) PRO category. It comes after a disastrous Corvette loss at Le Mans. Corvette Racing looked likely to take the GTE Pro victory when a crash ended the effort of the No. 64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R co-driven by Alexander Sims, Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner. (AutoInformed: LeMans 2022 – Toyota, Porsche, Jota, Aston Martin Win; Le Mans – Corvette 1-2 on Grid, Porsche 3-4)

Through five races on this side of the pond, Garcia and Taylor stand second in Drivers points as does Chevrolet in the Manufacturers standings because of class victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Corvette Racing has three victories at Watkins Glen since 2014, including two last year. Garcia and Taylor won in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category in last year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours as well as the WeatherTech 240 sprint a race a week later.

Cadillac Racing aims for second consecutive endurance race win with Five Cadillac DPi-V.R teams running the 6-hour event on challenging Watkins Glen course Last June, Pipi Derani co-drove the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R to a fourth-place finish in the six-hour race at Watkins Glen International and returned a week later to win the 2-hour, 40-minute race. That victory gave the team momentum, which translated into four consecutive podium finishes, including two wins,– in the closing races on the way to earning the DPi championship. Derani, along with co-drivers Olivier Pla and Mike Conway, will aim for a similar kickstart this weekend in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Four other Cadillac DPi entries will seek to secure the victory on the 3.45-mile, 11-turn road course and score maximum points in the third of four rounds of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

“Coming into this race, it will be Olivier’s second race in the car. We believe he is going to be super strong,” Derani said. “This is an important race for the endurance championship; one that we are very much in the fight. That’s going to play a lot into the strategy as well. Having Mike coming back to the team is a great addition. I’m looking forward to going back into a long-distance race – six hours – which normally plays into our hands.”  Olivier Pla, joined the team for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on the Belle Isle street circuit on June 4, co-drove to victory in 2019 at Watkins Glen and has finished on the podium three times in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar competition.

The No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R won the last endurance race – the Twelve Hours of Sebring – in March. The Cadillac Racing entry will be co-driven by Alex Lynn and Earl Bamber. The No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R, which has claimed two victories and four pole starts, will be co-driven by Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

Co-drivers Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi will again join seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R. The team is competing in the four endurance races this season.

However, Wayne Taylor Racing has two previous wins and ten podiums at the Upstate New York circuit. On both winning occasions, Taylor was at the wheel. Last year, the team secured back-to-back poles in two races held at WGI due to Covid restrictions. In both the Six Hours and the sprint race, Taylor and Albuquerque converted pole into a podium with strong race day performances. As the reigning Michelin Endurance Cup Champions, Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 team will no doubt be ready to race for a top result at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

“After a tough weekend in Detroit, we are excited to get back to traditional road courses,” said Ricky Taylor, two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion. “Watkins Glen has always been a strong racetrack for us and for Acura. We need to get our mojo back that helped us win in Laguna Seca and Mid-Ohio. The 6-hour is such an iconic event and as we enter the second half of the year, we need to take control of the points.”

*Porsche Carrera North America has 34 of the 500 horsepower Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars are set to contend for top honors in one of three classes – Pro, Pro-Am and Am – of the one-make race series at Watkins Glen International.

Pro Class: With 16 cars entered in the top class, the race at the front will be among the toughest of the season. An early string of pole positions and class victories gave Kay van Berlo (No. 3 Kelly Moss Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car) breathing room in the championship chase. However, the field closed on him at the most recent race weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where Parker Thompson (No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche) was able to capture two victories. Van Berlo – who won both Watkins Glen rounds in 2021 – holds a 22-point lead over Thompson. The Dutch driver learned in his runner-up bid for the title last season that consistency is critical and will be looking to set his ship right after missing the victory podium for the first time this season at WeatherTech Raceway. Kelly Moss teammate Riley Dickinson is 56 points behind van Berlo in the No. 53 machine. However, the Texan is coming up to a series of races in which he performed well in 2021, boosting his hopes of closing on two top-three finishes from last year. Pro class points leaders are: van Berlo 143, Thompson 121, Dickinson 87, Trenton Estep 85 and T.J. Fischer 60.

Pro-Am Class: Twelve cars will be challenging for the class win. All will be chasing Alan Metni (No. 99 Kelly Moss Porsche), who remains atop the Pro-Am category, a position he is well familiar with having led the championship for drivers 36 and older for the majority of the 2021 season before falling to second at the final race of the year. Metni has two victories and two second-place finishes in 2022. However, a Round 6 issue put him within reach of Justin Oakes (No. 47 of NOLASPORT Porsche), who has one win this season. Curt Swearingin (No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche) jumped two places in the standings with a second-place finish at WeatherTech Raceway. 2021 class champion Efrin Castro (No. 65 Kelly Moss Porsche) follows, having scored his second race win of the season just ahead of Swearingin in Round 6. Pro-Am class points leaders are: Metni 108, Oakes 95, Swearingin 83, Castro 79 and Pedro Torres 68.

Am Class: Mark Kvamme (No. 43 MDK Motorsports Porsche) has remained atop the class points since winning three of the first four races of the year. With five competitors chasing him this weekend in the class for drivers 57 and older, he is 25 points – a full race victory – ahead of John Goetz (No. 57 Wright Motorsports). Along with Kvamme and Goetz, Robert Hanley – who is not entered this weekend – is one of three drivers to score a victory this season. Bill Smith (No. 42 for Topp Racing) and Grady Willingham (No. 21 Goldcrest Porsche) close out the top five in points. Am class points leaders are: Kvamme 130, Goetz 105, Hanley 94, Smith 93 and Willingham 57.

The No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M4 GT3 will be driven by Connor De Phillippi, John Edwards, and Augusto Farfus. De Phillippi and Edwards co-drove to a third-place finish in the last round at Laguna Seca Raceway to score RLL’s first podium for the all-new BMW M4 GT3. Farfus continues as the third driver in the No. 25 machine this season.

BMW M Team RLL has had success in previous visits to the “venerable” 3.4-mile, 11-turn natural terrain road course. Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims shared the 2017 GTLM class victory at Watkins Glen in the No. 25 BMW M6. Last year’s six-hour event saw BMW M Team RLL score a double-BMW M8 podium finish with Edwards, Farfus and Jesse Krohn second and De Phillippi, Philip Eng, and Bruno Spengler finishing third. Two additional third place finishes were scored by Auberlen and Dirk Werner in 2015 and 2016.

WeatherTech Championship Track Records

Qualifying

  • DPi: Oliver Jarvis, Mazda DPi, 1:29.639 / 136.547 mph, June 2019
  • LMP2: Gabriel Aubry, ORECA LMP2 07, 1:31.735 / 133.427 mph, June 2019
  • LMP3: Austin McCusker, Ligier JS P320, 1:40.404 / 121.907 mph, June 2021
  • GTD PRO: new class in 2022
  • GTD: Jack Hawksworth, Lexus RC F GT3, 1:44.499 / 117.130 mph, July 2018

2021 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen Winners

  • DPi: Jonathan Bomarito/Harry Tincknell/Oliver Jarvis, No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi
  • LMP2: Steven Thomas/Tristan Nunez/Thomas Merrill, No. 11 WIN Autosport ORECA LMP2 07
  • LMP3: Gar Robinson/Felipe Fraga/Scott Andrews, No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320
  • GTD PRO: new class in 2022
  • GTD: Bill Auberlen/Robby Foley/Aidan Read, No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3

Racing begins tomorrow, Thursday, at the 3.4-mile road course with practices for the four support series. WeatherTech Championship practice takes place Friday, along with support series qualifying and the first weekend races for the Lamborghini, Porsche and Mazda single-make series.

Saturday: WeatherTech Championship practice and qualifying, the final races for the Lamborghini, Porsche and Mazda series, and the Michelin Pilot Challenge two-hour race, the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 120.

Sunday: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen feature race. It begins at 10:40 a.m. ET, with flag-to-flag coverage on Peacock in the U.S. and IMSA.com/TVLive elsewhere. USA Network picks up live coverage at 2 pm and continues through the race finish.

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1 Response to IMSA – 194 Cars Entered at Watkins Glen Races This Weekend

  1. Pingback: Penske Motorsport Heads List of Porsche 963 WEC and IMSA Contenders During 2023. A New Golden Age of Racing? | AutoInformed

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