Ally Cadillac drivers Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, Calif.), Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) and Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) return to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition for the third endurance race of the 2022 season. The trio are set to do battle in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International June 23-26.
The Ally teammates are only competing in the series’ four endurance races this season: Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Road Atlanta. They finished fifth at Daytona and sixth at Sebring. The No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R has proven it can be fast, as it finished third in the Rolex 24 qualifying race.
Johnson is no stranger to Watkins Glen. He turned a lot of laps there during his 20-year NASCAR career. He says he is looking forward to running the full 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course, which is something he did not get to do much of during his NASCAR days.
“I’m happy to be back in the racecar and happy to be back with Action Express Racing,” Johnson said. “I’m really excited to see Kamui and Mike, who are great human beings and great guys to be around. I’m excited to be back at Watkins Glen, a track and an area I really do enjoy spending time in. To be on the track, to run the full loop down through the boot, I have not done that many times in all of the trips I’ve been there. So, I’m excited to run the full distance track. In one of these DPi Cadillacs, the pace and the effort you can drive around that racetrack is quite impressive – especially comparing it to my days in NASCAR. Some of the braking zones, the bus stop in the back, and the carousel, it’s just mind blowing how fast these cars can travel through those tight little areas. I’m very excited to get back and have that experience once again.
“It would be incredible to win at Watkins Glen, incredible to win in another division and series. The way sportscar racing and endurance racing works is the team atmosphere. I really feel like I’m part of the family at Action Express Racing. To win as a race team, and as a family, in a sense, would be really special too.”
This will be Kobayashi’s second trip to the Finger Lakes region. He says he is looking forward to going back to a track he enjoys driving.
“This is our second year going back to Watkins Glen,” Kobayashi said. “I’m looking forward to it. It was a good memory. Obviously, I think we had a difficult time at the last race in Sebring due to a brake failure. Otherwise, I think we had good pace. So, I’m looking forward to going back to Watkins Glen. The track is very challenging. I absolutely enjoy driving this track. I think it was a pretty tough race for me the first time there. But, I had quite good pace and I think I’m more confident this year to be back there. I’m looking forward to it.”
Although it’s been a few years since Rockenfeller last raced at The Glen (2006), he is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the No. 48 Cadillac.
“It’s nice to be back in the car and back in IMSA,” Rockenfeller said. “It’s a great track [Watkins Glen]. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced there. I’m looking forward to being back and looking forward to having some sim preparation. Hopefully, we’re ready for a good race weekend. What it takes [to win], I think, is to have a race without issues. That’s the main target. Speed is always crucial, but you also need to run trouble-free. If we don’t have any incidents, I think we have a chance.”
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend gets underway with Practice #1 at 4:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, June 24. Practice #2 resumes at 8:15 a.m., followed by DPi qualifying at 2:10 p.m. Saturday, June 25. Round Seven goes green at 10:40 a.m. Sunday, June 26.
Source. Kyle Chura Associates/Photo. Brian Cleary