Teams Gearing Up For Sunday Sahlen’s Six Hours Of The Glen
Story By: IMSA Weather Tech Series Media
Photos By: Racersguide.com / Photo Staff
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – July 1, 2017- On a day when weather conditions were expected to create havoc at Watkins Glen Int’l, the stormy weather stayed away and only a few sprinkles were felt at times throughout the day on Friday.
As a result, all IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams got in two productive practice sessions, and a few early favorites for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen have emerged. In the Prototype class, those favorites are the pair of Nissan DPi entries from Tequila Patrón ESM, which swept the top two spots on Friday’s combined time chart.
Leading the way was Brazilian driver Pipo Derani in the No. 2 Tequila Patrón entry he is sharing this weekend with Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel. Derani logged a best time of 1 minute, 34.696 seconds (129.2 mph) in the day’s second practice session.
“The second half of the season starts now,” said Derani. “This program started late and it was normal for us to have a few problems at the beginning of the year. Now with so much hard work put in by the team it’s time for us to get better and better.
“Hopefully the reliability problems we had at the beginning of the year are gone. It’s still a very young program, but with that behind us we can start working more on performance, which with this weekend seems good so far.”
Second quickest was Derani’s teammate, Bruno Senna in the No. 22 Nissan DPi with a best time of 1:35.293 (128.4 mph). Senna will co-drive the No. 22 entry with Johannes van Overbeek.
Olivier Pla was third quickest in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LM P2 car at 1:35.377 (128.3 mph), followed by points leader Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R at 1:35.402 (128.2 mph). Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor head into Sunday’s race looking for their sixth consecutive victory.
In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, Dirk Mueller was quickest of the day in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, turning in a best lap of 1:43.078 (118.7 mph) in the morning practice session. Teammate Joey Hand was quickest in the afternoon session at 1:43.115 (118.6 mph), also in the No. 66 machine.
“I like the track, Dirk likes the track,” Hand said. “(Mueller) was quickest in the morning session. It’s one of those places where you drive through the tunnel here and you’re like, ‘Yeah, I get to drive this place again.’ It’s one of those feelings.
“I say it all the time, but these guys have been really good at getting the car to come out of the trailer quick, from homework, from all of the stuff they do at the shop, from last year’s information to this. They’ve just been really good at getting them out of the truck fast and that goes a long way through the weekend.”
Following the No. 66 co-drivers on the time chart was Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 Ford GT with a time of 1:43.226 (118.5 mph). Westbrook and co-driver Ryan Briscoe won last year’s GTLM race at Watkins Glen.
In the GT Daytona (GTD) class, Katherine Legge led the way in the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 with a best lap of 1:45.528 (116.0 mph). Legge and co-driver Andy Lally are carrying the momentum of the first victory for the Acura NSX GT3 program earlier this month in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in Detroit.
“Hopefully, we’re going off of some forward momentum from Detroit,” Legge said. “The car feels really good. I don’t know where we legit end up, because that was a new tires, no traffic run. Hopefully, we have a really good race car.
“Wherever it is, I think we’re in the ballpark, which is nice and it rolled off the truck like that. We worked really hard, we went to VIR since Detroit and we’ve done more testing, so we’ll just keep pushing, keep digging and keep moving forward. I think it will be a lot closer in the race, because, of course, everybody’s on a different strategy.”
In the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, Patricio O’Ward led the way with a best lap of 1:39.347 (123.2 mph) in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09. O’Ward and co-driver James French have won all four PC races contested thus far in 2017.