Wayne Taylor Racing’s incredible winning streak is over, and ended at five. Action Express’s #5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R claimed a dramatic win in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, in which podium positions in three of the four classes were settled in the final run to the flag.
Joao Barbosa, in the #5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi he shared with Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque, took their first win of the year in the Prototype category, just 1.183 seconds ahead of the #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA LMP2 piloted by Stephen Simpson, Chris Miller and Misha Goikhberg.
Simpson took the car to the chequered flag after Barbosa made a bold move for the lead in the winning Cadillac, round the outside of the ORECA at Turn 1 through traffic (below) with 35 minutes remaining.
The pass that stole the lead. pic.twitter.com/Tizs13xYcG
— IMSA (@IMSA) July 2, 2017
Taking the final podium spot in the Prototype category was the #55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi which Jonathan Bomarito, sharing the driving duties with Spencer Pigot and Tristan Nunez, brought home 7.363 seconds behind the winners.
Christian Fittipaldi, driver of the winning car was delighted at the result.
“We ran really well here today. I’m so, so happy, I can’t explain how happy I am. More than that, we’ve won here three years in the last five. I love Watkins Glen!”
For the first time this season the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DP1 did not dominate the Prototype class. Ricky Taylor, at the wheel of the #10 car, had contact with Olivier Pla in the #52 PR1/Matheson Motorsports Ligier LMP2 on the first lap, resulting in suspension damage. Repairs meant that the #10 car was relegated to the back of the class field. Ricky and Jordan Taylor fought hard, however, throughout the remainder of the six-hour race for a sixth place finish and valuable points but the opportunity for a sixth victory of the season was gone within the first minutes of the race.
The #2 Tequila Patron Nissan DPi, driven by Luis Felipe ‘Pipo’ Derani, Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel looked like an early contender for the win after starting from pole position. However Scott Sharp, driving the second stint, had contact with the #75 Sun-Energy Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Boris Said at the wheel. The resulting repairs pushed it down the field and it finished in eighth place.
The #31 Whelan Engineering Cadillac DP1-V.R, piloted by Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Filipe Albuquerque, also led before the half-way mark and was looking strong. Following a stop, the right-rear wheel came off and the #31 had to be recovered back to the garage, returning to finish seventh overall.
With three hours run it was the #22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi with Bruno Senna driving that led the race. Its chances faded, however, in the fifth hour due to mechanical problems.
For the final two hours, it looked as if the #5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi, with Joao Barbosa at the wheel, was in control at the front. A late Safety Car period, however, allowed Stephen Simpson in the #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Multimatic/Rile LMP2 a run at the #5 car at the restart with 20 minutes left, to take the lead. Barbosa fought back hard and re-took the lead with nine minutes remaining.
“I knew if traffic could play a role in the race, I could take advantage of it,” said Barbosa. “Coming in to the last corner, (Simpson) had to check-up on a GT car so I got to pull a little bit of a move into Turn 1. He gave me just enough room to go around. It was really a fun race. We raced really, really hard. The mentality going into every race is to get the win. We keep believing it.”
The GT Le Mans class was highly competitive with all, bar one, of the class entries leading at some point in the six-hour race.
BMW Team RLL took its first win with the BMW M6 GTLM in the WeatherTech series, when Alexander Sims, in the #25, crossed the line to take the GTLM class victory 4.416 seconds ahead of Richard Westbrook in the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT he shared with Ryan Briscoe.
Third in the GTLM class was the #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R which qualified at the back of the GTLM class. Antonia Garcia took the wheel for the final stint in the car he shares with Jan Magnussen.
Bill Auberlein, co-driver of the winning #25 BMW Team RLL entry, was quick to pay tribute to his team after the win.
“That was long overdue,” said Auberlein. “These guys from BMW Team RLL and Michelin.. this win was a long time coming. It was always bad luck that took us out of it before. We’ve done a lot of testing and a lot of development and I’m so happy for my guys. They’ve worked so hard and they deserve this.”
The race almost saw a dream start to the career of Gianmaria Bruni as a Porsche GT Team driver when, with less than ten minutes to go, the ex-Ferrari factory driver, in his first race for Porsche, held third position. A late call to the pits for tyres, however, put paid to the chance of a podium position and the #912 car eventually finished sixth in class.
Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian took its second consecutive win in the GTD class with victory for the #93 Acura NSX GT3 driven by Andy Lally and Katherine Legge, Lally bringing the car home ahead of Alessandro Balzan in the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 he shares with Christina Neilsen and Matteo Cressoni.
Alessandro Balzan, driver of the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari F488 GT3 he shares with Christina Nielsen and Matteo Cressoni, was delighted at the second-place finish.
“It’s great to lead the championship and to lead the Patrón Endurance Cup,” said Balzan. “Scuderia Corsa gave me a perfect car. The Ferrari F488 GT3 was working really great throughout my entire stint.”
Third in class was the Justin Marks and Jens Klingmann-driven #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
“It’s all kudos to Accura and Michael Shank Racing,” said Katherine Legge. “They’ve given us the car to be able to go and do it. Huge thanks to Andy (Lally) because he was a rock star out there! I’m very proud of the entire team because it was down to the pit stops and strategy that we got another one. Two in a row. I can hardly believe it.”
In the PC class #38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA GLM09 continued its unbeaten run in 2017 by taking its fifth consecutive victory. The #38 car, driven by James French, Patricio O’Ward and Kyle Masson led the PC class from pole position but had some interesting moments during the first lap.
“I ended up getting passed in Turn 1”, said James French, driver of the 38 car. “There was some contact with the prototypes in front of me. Yacaman stayed ahead and maintained the position after getting sideways. After that I was able to kind of settle in and finish off my stint.”
Second in the PC class, two laps back, was the #20 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09 with Buddy Rice brining the car home. Taking the final podium position was the sister #26 entry.
The next round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 9.