IMSA drivers gear up for Six Hours on the Glen
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen is little bit of an anomaly. It’s the fourth-longest race on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, and the shortest endurance race. The third spherical of the Michelin North American Endurance Cup, it’s the one race of the 4 rounds the place some groups will go for a two-driver lineup. And it occurs on the 3.4-mile, 23-turn Watkins Glen Worldwide circuit, a high-speed observe the place the Armco is alarmingly shut in locations, leaving little room for error.
“Watkins is unquestionably one in every of my favourite tracks on the calendar,” says Oliver Jarvis, who gained the race final yr with Mazda and comes into this weekend’s race sharing the DPi factors lead with teammate Tom Blomqvist within the No. 60 Meyer-Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura. “I believe it’s in all probability one in every of all people’s favourite tracks. You understand, it’s simply so pleasant to drive, excessive pace, excessive dedication, loads of grip. In order a driver, you may actually assault.”
The flip facet to that’s that six hours on the circuit is hard, as Jarvis’s and Blomqvist’s closest pursuer within the championship, Ricky Taylor, notes. Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque are a mere 10 factors behind, and will likely be working to place their No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura in entrance to take the factors lead away.
“It’s a tough race,” Taylor says. “I believe for the drivers within the vehicles and strategically, it’s a little bit of an odd distance in that it’s not like a protracted, lengthy endurance race the place you simply type of settle in for the primary bit after which protect the automotive for the top. It’s flat out the entire approach by way of, and the best way that the site visitors flows with the GT site visitors and simply the best way that the observe is inherently so quick and such a high-commitment observe, mentally and bodily it turns into fairly grueling on the finish.”
That makes the selection to have solely two drivers within the lineup – DPi and GTD PRO groups have the choice of doing so; LMP2, LMP3 and GTD should use three drivers – appear a bit odd. Will Stevens joined WTR at Sebring and Daytona (Alexander Rossi additionally in at Daytona), and the MSR crew has had three totally different endurance drivers amongst these occasions. However amongst DPi groups, solely the JDC-Miller Motorsports and two Motion Specific Cadillacs have gone with three-driver lineups.
“It will be good to have the third man purely for the Endurance Championship, as a result of it’s an Endurance Championship and sadly Will gained’t be with us this weekend,” says Taylor. “However it’s all the time been our philosophy for simply conserving it easy. They’d somewhat have two simply only for the truth that we get extra observe time. The race weekend is fairly restricted. The period of time you get to drive in site visitors and simply the simplicity of driver modifications, we’re used to that course. With how quick the race is, these little particulars like a driver modifications, and any individual getting up to the mark… Watkins Glen is such a high-commitment observe that if you go there, for the primary observe, it takes me six or seven laps the place at regular tracks, the out lap, and also you’re comfy. This one, it’s like your first 5 laps, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m nonetheless a second-and-a-half off, and I don’t know tips on how to go sooner.’
“In case you’re leaping within the automotive, and also you’re that third driver, and all people else is working two, you’re going up in opposition to guys which have already executed a double stint,” says Jarvis. “In order Ricky talked about that one lap, that two laps, in the event that they’ve stayed out, and that third driver is in, he loses a second, 1.5, 2 … that may change the dynamic of the race, since you then don’t have the seven, eight hours to get again into it.”
The drivers repeatedly use “high-commitment” to explain the Glen. A lot of that comes from the pace of the corners and the aforementioned adjoining Armco. However with all 5 lessons again collectively for the primary time since Sebring, almost 50 vehicles and numerous site visitors, high-commitment additionally refers back to the decisive strikes required to take care of place in that crowd.
“It’s very quick,” says Antonio Garcia, driver of the No. 3 Corvette Racing GTD PRO automotive with Jordan Taylor. “There may be solely a few slow-ish corners, however the whole lot else is type of mid- to high-speed corners. In order that’s what makes it somewhat bit totally different. After which there’s the precise stream on the racetrack with site visitors. I imply, we’re anticipating fairly a giant subject on the market. So not solely the battle we may have amongst one another, it’s going to be the interplay of with all the opposite lessons.”
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen will get underway at 10:40 a.m. Japanese. The total race will likely be streamed on Peacock, with the latter half stay on USA Community.