Whelen Engineering drivers Pipo Derani (Brazil), Olivier Pla (France) and Mike Conway (Great Britain) head to New York state’s Finger Lakes region for this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen June 23-26 at Watkins Glen International. This will be the third of four endurance races on the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech schedule.
In 2021, the IMSA WeatherTech series scheduled two races, on back-to-back weekends, at Watkins Glen. The first was the Six Hours of The Glen. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R finished fourth in that race with Derani, Conway, and Felipe Nasr. Five days later, Derani and Nasr won the WeatherTech 240, giving the team its first win of the 2021 season.
That win gave the team a lot of momentum heading down the stretch towards ultimately winning the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In fact, that win helped the team win three of the next four races, including recording five consecutive podium finishes to finish out the season. Derani looks forward to returning to Watkins Glen, and he believes the team has a strong car and driver lineup heading into the six-hour race.
“It’s great to be coming back to Watkins Glen,” Derani said. “We won the short race last year, which really kickstarted our championship fight. Coming into this race, it will be Olivier’s second race in the car. We believe he is going to be super strong. This is a place that he drives well. I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a strong result. This is an important race for the endurance championship; one that we are very much in the fight. That’s going to play a lot into the strategy as well. We’re still trying to fight for our first win of the season. But, like I said, Olivier is going to be much more comfortable now than he was at Detroit. Having Mike coming back to the team is a great addition. I’m looking forward to going back into a long-distance race – six hours – which normally plays into our hands. We’re going to work hard and hopefully get a win for the Whelen Engineering Cadillac.”
Pla has had some success at Watkins Glen over the years. In 2019, he won this race in a Mazda and has finished on the podium three times in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar competition. He says Watkins Glen is one of his favorite tracks.
“Watkins Glen is one of my favorite tracks, if not my favorite track,” Pla said. “I really love this place. I’ve always been very competitive there. I’m really looking forward to this event. It’s an amazing track with high-speed corners. It’s a very difficult race too with all the categories together. There’s a lot of cars on the track. Strategy is very important there. It’s about having good track position at the end. The last two hours, you need to be at the front. I’m really looking forward to the race and to give the maximum to get a strong result for the team.”
Conway, who is coming off a second-place finish at the 24 hours of Le Mans two weeks ago, rejoins Action Express Racing for the third endurance race of the season. At Daytona and Sebring earlier this season, he helped the team to a fourth place and a third-place finish, respectively, in those races. He says he’s looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the No. 31 Cadillac.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the Action Express Cadillac,” Conway said. “We had a really quick car the last time I drove it at Sebring. So, I’m looking forward to getting back in, seeing all the boys, and having a crack at winning a race. I’m also looking forward to that track. It’s always an awesome one. It has lots of grip, lots of quick corners and it really suits the Cadillac. So, I’m looking forward to getting back on track and getting some good results.”
Source. Kyle Chura Associates