IMSA returns to Watkins Glen, TUDOR Championship enters summer stretch
The historic upstate New York circuit plays host to a full field of IMSA competitors, 55 cars to be exact, marking the first complete, four-class round since the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
55 cars will take part in this weekend's Six Hours of The Glen.
Brian Cleary / Getty Images
By John Dagys
Fans will once again get to reap the benefits of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this weekend, as the unified series heads to Watkins Glen International for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (Sunday, 11 a.m., Live! FOX Sports 1).
A staple in the GRAND-AM calendar, the historic upstate New York circuit plays host to a full field of IMSA competitors, 55 cars to be exact, marking the first complete, four-class round since the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
The third race of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup sees an expanded field of 13 Prototypes set to do battle, bolstered by the return of the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of brothers Burt and Brian Frisselle plus Jon Fogarty, as well as the DeltaWing DWC13, which sees Katherine Legge and Indy Lights star Gabby Chaves at the wheel.
Much of the attention, on and off the track, however, will be on brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor, who seek back-to-back wins in their Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP. The duo head into the weekend with a seven-point lead in the championship over Action Express’ Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, which lost out following a late-race scrap for the win at Detroit.
The Sebring-winning and once points-leading pairing of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, meanwhile, will be looking to put their championship hopes back on track following clutch issues at Detroit for the Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley. They’ll be joined this weekend by open-wheel rising star Sage Karam, who contested the opening two TPNAEC rounds.
While the DP-based Prototypes are no strangers to the 3.40-mile, 11-turn circuit, the P2 cars will make their race debut at The Glen, with three strong contenders that could be vying for overall victory.
Extreme Speed Motorsports again enters its pair of HPD ARX-03b cars, with Anthony Lazzaro rejoining Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek in the No. 2 entry and Ryan Dalziel and team owner Scott Sharp searching for their first win of the year. The Florida-based squad was among more than a dozen teams to have tested here prior to the weekend, which is likely to pay dividends.
Fresh off the 24 Hours of Le Mans, OAK Racing returns stateside with its Morgan-Nissan for Gustavo Yacaman, who is joined this weekend by Alex Brundle and Ho-Pin Tung, the Chinese driver making his TUDOR Championship debut.
The GT Le Mans class, meanwhile, returns to action for the first time since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May and features 11 entries, including the championship-leading BMW Team RLL pairing of Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx, who have yet to visit victory lane.
On the heels of back-to-back wins, Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia will be looking for a three-peat in their No. 3 Corvette C7.R, while will again face stiff competition from the factory Porsche and SRT Viper squads, the latter debuting a new throwback red-and-white livery reminiscent of the factory ORECA-run Vipers of old.
Prototype Challenge teams are reunited with the three other TUDOR Championship classes following their solo race at Kansas, which went the way of CORE autosport’s Colin Braun and Jon Bennett. The duo hold a six-point lead over Starworks Motorsports’ Renger van der Zande, with teammate Martin Fuentes in third.
Fuentes will have his third different co-driver in as many races, with Australian FIA World Endurance Championship driver John Martin joining the Mexican pilot at the wheel of the No. 7 Oreca FLM09 this weekend.
Other notable changes in the PC ranks include the return of Tom Kimber-Smith to the No. 25 8Star Motorsports entry and Mike Hedlund making his class debut in the No. 38 Performance Tech machine with David Ostella.
The GTD class provisionally sees a 21-car entry, led by AIM Autosport’s Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler, who continues to hold a marginal championship lead over Alex Job Racing’s Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil in second.
After suffering late-race misfortunes after dominating the last two rounds, Flying Lizard Motorsports will be looking to turn its luck around with its pair of Audi R8 LMS cars, which is among the cars to have been given Balance of Performance adjustments in the production-based class ahead of this weekend’s race.
Track activity for the TUDOR Championship gets underway on Friday, with final practice and qualifying on tap for Saturday. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Gen takes the green flag Sunday at 11:15 a.m. ET, with live, flag-to-flag coverage on FOX Sports 1.