Michael Shank Racing Delivers First IMSA Pole for Acura NSX GT3
Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian delivered the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole for the Acura NSX GT3 on Saturday during qualifying for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen in the team’s 20th start in the historic race.
The pole result comes after Michael Shank Racing delivered the first victory for the Acura NSX GT3 in the previous IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at Detroit.
The sister No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 of Jeff Segal and Ozz Negri will start the six-hour endurance classic from the outside of the second row after Segal posted a fast lap of 1:46.816-seconds to lock in fourth on the grid.
The qualifying session continued the positive momentum the Michael Shank Racing team has seen through the entire Glen event after the No. 93 led the first two practice sessions of the weekend.
“It’s all a testament to these guys at Michael Shank Racing, Acura and HPD,” said Lally, who set his fastest time on the final lap of the qualifying run. “I don’t get a chance to qualify too much so this is great. Watkins Glen is my favorite track and my home track. When you put one of those crazy laps together you’re breathing so hard! I have to thank Continental Tire – we beat the heck out of those tires!”
Segal was looking for a bit more time in the final laps of qualifying, but a red flag ended the session early.
“The car was good, but we’re just missing a little bit,” said Segal of the run. “But we have good confidence after that lap, I know where there is a bit more time and it’s nice to have a strong car like the 93 as our teammates to be able to understand where they found their little extra bit. The team is doing a great job, the cars are both running really well. We have great momentum from the last race at Detroit, so we’re looking to make sure the race tomorrow is strong as well. Six hours is an endurance race but it’s a sprint race, we’re going to be flat out the entire time.”
Team Owner Mike Shank was thrilled with the team’s performance.
“It’s the first time ever for the Acura NSX GT3 to get the pole, so it means everything,” offered Shank. “To qualify first and fourth really shows the dedication from everyone at HPD, Acura, and everybody at Michael Shank Racing. We’re all working together and pushing in the same direction. We definitely found something in the break after COTA. Detroit was great and then we tested at VIR, and we’re finding things that help this car’s balance a lot and it’s showing up now. I’m super proud of Andy (Lally) and Jeff (Segal) – they both did great laps. We’ll have a great race tomorrow. We’re looking forward to it.”
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen goes green at 10:10 AM ET on Sunday
Source. Sunday Group
Best 911 RSR takes up the Watkins Glen six-hour classic from the third grid row
At the six-hour race in Watkins Glen, the best Porsche 911 RSR starts from the third grid row. In the fiercely competitive qualifying for the prestigious long-distance classic in the US state of New York, Patrick Pilet (France) planted his #911 Porsche 911 RSR on the fifth grid spot in the GTLM class. His teammate for round five of the IMSA SportsCar Championship is Dirk Werner (Germany). In the second 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) clocked the seventh fastest time. He shares the cockpit of the number 912 car with the new Porsche works driver Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) who contests his first race with the 911 RSR in Watkins Glen. The enormously cutthroat competition in this class makes the fight for pole position gripping to the last lap of this classic on the storied 5.472-kilometre race track. At the end of the qualifying session, the eight GTLM contenders were just seven-tenths of a second apart.
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport: “We pulled out all stops in this qualifying. We’re relatively satisfied with this result, even though we definitely lost one or two tenths of seconds. Pole position was out of reach, the cars in front are too fast. We hope that we can draw on the advantage of consistency in the race, but it won’t be easy. We’ll try our best.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “That was a difficult qualifying. Nobody knew exactly how the track would look after the rain, so that, too, made the whole thing a game of chance. We took a gamble as well and tried out a higher tyre pressure. That went well for the first two laps, but ultimately, when the track was at its best, we didn’t have the necessary performance. Fifth on the grid isn’t bad. The race is long and a lot can happen.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “This qualifying didn’t go optimally for us. We had to run on hard tyres but they didn’t offer enough grip. It simply didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean much for the race. We have a good car and can post faster times from lap to lap. I’m feeling very confident.”
The six-hour race takes off on Sunday, 2 July, at 10.10 hrs local time (16.10 hrs CEST) and can be viewed live outside the USA on http://www.imsa.com.
1. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 1:42.507 min.
2. Auberlen/Sims (USA/GB), BMW M6, + 0.306 sec.
3. Edwards/Tomczyk (USA/D), BMW M6, + 0.374
4. Westbrook/Briscoe (GB/USA), Ford GT, + 0.377
5. Pilet/Werner (F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.633
6. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette, + 0.682
7. Vanthoor/Bruni (B/I), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.685
8. Garcia/Magnussen (E/DK), Corvette, + 0.736
1. Lally/Legge (USA/GB), Acura NSX, 1:46.501 min.
2. Aschenbach/Davis (USA/USA), Audi R8, + 0.220 sec.
3. Hawksworth/Alon/Cindric (GB/USA/USA), Lexus, + 0.673
13. Lindsey/McMurry (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.844
14. Christensen/Morad/de Quesada (/DK/CAN/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 3.080
17. Bennett/Braun/Jonsson (USA/USA/S), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 4.922
BMW Team RLL Scores First and Second Row GTLM Class Starting Positions for Six Hours of The Glen
BMW Team RLL continued the excellent performance shown in the last round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship by qualifying second and third for tomorrow’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. BMW Motorsport drivers Alexander Sims and Martin Tomczyk made the best of their first race weekend at the classic 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International to qualify in the first and second rows of the very competitive GTLM class. Sims drove the No. 25 M6 he shares with Bill Auberlen to his season’s-best second place qualifying effort with a lap time of 1:42.813 minutes. Just .068 seconds behind, Martin Tomczyk qualified the No. 24 M6 in the third spot with a 1:42.881 minute lap. He will co-drive with John Edwards, the Round Four pole winner at the Circuit of the Americas. The class pole went to Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford GT with a 1:42.507 minute lap. The entire GTLM class was separated by only .736 seconds.
“I’m very pleased we have continued to see the competitiveness we showed at COTA,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Our M6 likes long, fast and flowing corners and Watkins Glen is exactly that. It is always a tough race, but we’re starting from a good place and look forward to a positive day.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P2):“We ran a strong session and was only topped by Joey (Hand) at the very end. Where you start a six-hour race is not absolutely critical, but I am pleased for my first GTLM front row start and look forward to a good race tomorrow. Watkins Glen is an awesome place. It seems to suit the M6 nicely.”
Martin Tomczyk, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P3): “Both of our BMWs performed quite well today, posting strong efforts. I am looking forward to six hours at Watkins Glen. I like the circuit more and more with each lap.”
WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 qualifies 15th at Watkins Glen
WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand) will start from the eighth row in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class for Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
Under overcast skies and drying track conditions from this morning’s rain, MacNeil was behind the wheel of the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for today’s 15-minute GTD qualifying session. MacNeil’s session did not start well. He had to serve a drive through penalty for speeding on pit lane before he could record his first qualifying lap.
From there, MacNeil used most of the session to improve his best lap time, which he set on his sixth circuit around the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course. In fact, he was on pace to shave even more time off his best lap of 1:49.879 when the red flag flew on the session with about three minutes remaining.
“Qualifying was not ideal because the track was drying and a lot of the curbs were still wet,” MacNeil said about his qualifying session. “Actually, a lot of the track was still wet. I was taking my time, working up to speed. I had two more laps to go before the end of the session. I was ready to do a quick lap. And unfortunately, the session went red because somebody crashed. The good news is the car is in one piece and it’s a long race.
“The car [Mercedes] was developed in Germany. And, we all know that Germany has some great race tracks like Hockenheim and especially Nürburgring, where there’s a lot elevation change. It’s very similar to this place. The car suits this track well. It’s designed for it. So far so good. It’s handling pretty well. Mercedes really did their homework with the car.”
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing
Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Mustang Sampling to Start The Glen Third
Cadillac V-Performance racing team Mustang Sampling will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen from the second row in third for tomorrow’s 10 a.m. start. Konica Minolta will start fourth with Whelen Engineering going away in sixth.
Under mixed weather conditions, from sunny and warm yesterday, to rain for practice this morning and a drying track in qualifying, the Cadillac V-Performance prototype teams have been chasing the track all weekend. In qualifying, Christian Fittipaldi posted a lap time of 1:35.306 that will have him starting the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype from the second row in third. Ricky Taylor had the controls of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R and put in a lap of 1:35.496 that will have him starting fourth. In the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Eric Curran drove to a lap of 1:36.103 good for a third row starting position in sixth.
Fittipaldi and his teammates Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque have worked on the set-up of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R and are ready for a quarter day of racing tomorrow.
“The Mustang Sampling Cadillac is pretty good, we are the first Cadillac,” Fittipaldi said. “I am expecting a race tomorrow. It is a long event. We need to keep our nose clean. I am confident with the changes we made from yesterday to this morning and then this afternoon. I am happy right now. Can we make it better, yes. If you ask the No. 10, they will say the same thing. I am happy with the package we have for tomorrow.”
Ricky and Jordan Taylor know they are losing some time due to the downforce restrictions on the Cadillac DPi-V.R, but they will depend on the reliability of the Cadillac V-8 engine and the ability of the team to perform and strategize tomorrow.
“It is a long race,” Ricky Taylor said. “The car was pretty good. I think we still have some improvements we can make and we will try those in the warm-up. I don’t know if we have much on pure speed for the top two cars. I am confident in the reliability of the Cadillac and the execution of our Konica Minolta team. The other cars have a lot of downforce and with the amount of power they have they are able to get through the corners faster all that more grip.”
Curran and Dane Cameron are still getting their Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R to handle the way they want around the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen circuit.
“I didn’t do much dry running this weekend,” Curran said. “I ran a lot wet laps this morning. We just need to keep tweaking on this Whelen Engineering Cadillac to get it better. We are a half-second off to our other Cadillac cars. P6 isn’t bad, it is a six-hour race and anything can happen. We need to make the car a little bit better than we are now. We will try the next set-up with this great team. We may not be the fastest today, but we really know how to execute the pit stops and strategy for a race like the six-hours of The Glen.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing
VISIT FLORIDA Racing Set for Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen
VISIT FLORIDA Racing continues to make progress with its No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Gibson-Riley in its first year with the new platform as the Florida-based team enters the second half of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at Watkins Glen International.
That forward progression showed when Renger van der Zande put the No. 90 machine seventh on the grid for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen during qualifying on Saturday. The grid spot on the fourth row marks the best qualifying effort for VISIT FLORIDA Racing so far this year.
The team opened the year with a run to third place in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and will look to return to victory lane at Watkins Glen, having won the 2014 and 2015 editions of the 6 Hour event.
“Overall, I’m very proud of the team,” said van der Zande, who shares the No. 90 Gibson-Riley with Marc Goossens. “We’re still struggling for speed – especially top speed and in the lap time. I think the changes we made during the practice sessions this weekend were in the right direction. We keep making changes in the right direction during the race weekends and we are proud of that. My fastest lap felt like a pole position lap, there was no more that I could get out of it. If you look at the cars we are actually competing against – the other P2 cars – we did pretty well. We need to be fighting for the front, but right now we’re happy with where we’re at.”
Source. Sunday Group
Alex Job Racing Audi R8 qualifies 16th in GTD at The Glen
Alex Job Racing drivers Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.), Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and Frankie Montecalvo (Highlands, N.J.), will start from the eighth row on the GTD grid for this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
Bell, who is coming off a third place class finish at Le Mans a two-weeks ago, had the controls of the No. 23 Audi R8 LMS for today’s 15-minute GTD qualifying session. Unfortunately, Bell’s session did not last long. Three laps into it, IMSA gave the No. 23 Audi a black flag. Corner workers reporting seeing a fire in the rear of the car. As a result, Bell brought the car to pit lane where the crew discovered a significant gearbox issue that ended the team’s qualifying session. Bell will start from the eighth row as a result of his 1:50.647 qualifying time.
“We’ve had a tough start to our weekend,” Bell said. “We had a bunch of issues in the first [practice] session, which limited our time. In the second session, we finally started to find our feet and we were optimistic. This morning, it was obviously wet, but the car was still good.
“Then finally [for qualifying], the sun’s out, the track is drying, and we could put everything we learned in the Friday second practice session to work. We were feeling good about things. The car was great. I was coming up to speed on a good lap and something happened in the transmission. It’s pretty terminal back there.”
“We spent Friday sorting through the set-up of the Audi,” Alex Job, team owner said. “We haven’t run the car since Sebring and Bill, Frankie and Townsend have been driving other makes over the past few months so we were all getting back into ‘Audi’ mode. In qualifying it was too bad, Townsend was feeling good about the car and then we had the issue with the transmission. We will have it ready for the race tomorrow.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Alex Job Racing
CORVETTE RACING AT WATKINS GLEN: Ready to Roll for Six Hours
Corvette Racing will go for its second victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen on Sunday from the third and fourth rows of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class following qualifying at Watkins Glen International.
The GTLM championship-leading team is looking for a fourth straight victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Tommy Milner led Corvette Racing’s efforts Saturday with a lap of 1:43.189 (118.6 mph) to rank sixth in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that he shares with Oliver Gavin.
GTLM Driver’s Championship co-leader Antonio Garcia was eighth at 1:43.243 (118.5 mph) in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. He and teammate Jan Magnussen gave Corvette Racing a victory in its first Watkins Glen debut in 2014. They also won in the class’s most recent race at Circuit of The Americas, and they also were victorious at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Gavin and Milner were fourth in GTLM last year at Watkins Glen on their way to the GTLM Championship. They won earlier this year at Long Beach.
Corvette Racing’s performance this year has vaulted Chevrolet into the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship lead, the No. 3 Corvette C7.R entry leads the class’s Team standings.
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen also marks the third of four races in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup – a four-race competition made up of Sebring, The Glen, the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Petit Le Mans. After two rounds, Garcia and Magnussen are third in Driver points, as is Chevrolet in the Manufacturer’s standings.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SIXTH IN GTLM: “It wasn’t bad but wasn’t great. I think we’re in a good place to start for a six-hour race. Our Corvette feels really good, so that’s key with all the changing conditions that we’ve seen. Going off what we learned yesterday helped in qualifying. I’m happy about that. It’s close as it always is in GTLM. Things are good and we are looking forward to the race.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED EIGHTH IN GTLM: “The track is different than it was yesterday with the different conditions. It was difficult to nail a lap. The way we had the Corvette setup, it doesn’t relate to how the track felt yesterday. Maybe setup wise, we weren’t where we need to be. However, we think the conditions for the race tomorrow will be closer to the setup we had yesterday. Things went a little against us today, and I don’t feel like I drove very well today. It’s not like we are very far off. It’s a six-hour race, and we know how to win at Watkins Glen.”
Source. Corvette Racing
ESM Clinches Pole at Watkins Glen
Saturday afternoon at Watkins Glen International Raceway, Pipo Derani dominated the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying session to pole position for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. The Brazilian piloted the No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi to the top of the timing charts to earn Nissan’s first DPi pole. Last year’s pole sitter, Johannes van Overbeek qualified the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi in fifth position.
Derani initially held provisional pole early in the session, but Olivier Pla showed competitive speeds, taking the position back. Derani pushed on, reclaiming the position. With one lap left, Derani again set a fast time, setting the fastest lap with a time of 1:34.405. In the No. 22, Johannes van Overbeek also showed the Nissan’s competitive lap times, setting a fast time to sit in third position. As the car began to settle in to set a qualifying lap, the team noticed issues with the boost, forcing van Overbeek to make a quick pit stop. He rejoined the field, securing a fifth place starting position for Sunday’s race.
The back-to-back pole position reaffirms the progress the team has continued to make throughout the 2017 race season. Earlier this week, Ed Brown announced his retirement from prototype cars to focus on his business commitments as the Patrón Spirits President and CEO. Following this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, Derani will replace Brown in the No. 22 Nissan, alongside co-driver Johannes van Overbeek.
Pipo Derani | Qualified P1 | Best lap of 1:34.405
It was a very good qualifying session. We rolled out of the truck this weekend with a good car. The team has been doing a great job in the shop. Since the beginning of the year, everyone has been working really hard to get the car to where it should be. During the whole weekend, we did minor tweaks just to adapt to the weather conditions, but in general the car was pretty good. To be on pole shows the work has paid off. It feels good to be on pole, but it’s a long race. Now we need to focus on the finish. It’s amazing. Ed is my lucky start. To be able to represent him and the whole team with a pole position is very special. It’s my return to the team after Sebring, so it feels very special. I think a win would be even better.
Johannes van Overbeek | Qualified P2 | Best lap of 1:35.637
Congratulations to Pipo for getting pole position. The No. 22 car had boost issues. We pitted just as the car was coming in, and slipped from third to fifth. It was frustrating, but at least we know we have a good car.
Front Row Start for Stevenson Motorsports Audi at Watkins Glen
A packed day at Watkins Glen International for Stevenson Motorsports on Saturday saw the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GTD entry take a front row starting spot for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. The Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS is carrying a special livery in support of Hope for the Warriors on this Fourth of July weekend.
Later in the day the team was in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge action with the all-new No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT4.R, which ran strongly in its second-ever IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
With unpredictable weather conditions during the early hours of race day, it was up in the air whether GTD qualifying would see wet or dry track conditions. A break in the skies saw the sun return just ahead of the 15-minute qualifying session. The warm rays helped to quickly establish a dry line for Lawson Aschenbach behind the wheel of the No. 57 Stevenson Audi R8 LMS.
Right out of the gate, Aschenbach, who shares the car with Andrew Davis, set some quick times to move up to the top-three in times. As Aschenbach set up for one last lap to lay down a quicker time, a full course yellow was displayed which ended the qualifying session early. Aschenbach will start the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen from the front row after setting a quick time of a 1:46.271-seconds as the team looks for another victory in the 6 Hour event.
“We had a solid start to the weekend and continued to make gains throughout every session,” said Aschenbach. “We had a great car for qualifying and the team gave me everything that I needed. Historically with the Audis we have to wait until the end of the session to get a good lap time and those last two laps were really what I needed. I thought during the last lap I could close the gap a little bit but the session ended early. All in all I am really happy with P2 regardless, and hopefully we can make it one step better for the race.”
Davis was pleased with Aschenbach’s qualifying efforts and looks forward to making progress during the race.
“Lawson (Aschenbach) did a great job putting us on the front row,” said Davis. “We have a great starting position set for the race. We have been really fast all weekend and we are hoping to keep it up for tomorrow.”
Source. Sunday Group