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IMSA Preview: Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen

Written by Sean McKean, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

In complete contrast to the busy city of Detroit, the IMSA field will travel to rural upstate New York to Watkins Glen for round six of the championship. Not only will all classes be present for this race, but four support championships will travel alongside (Michelin Pilot Challenge, Porsche Carrera Cup, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Mustang Challenge).

56 entries are expected for the event: 11 in GTP, 13 in LMP2, 11 in GTD Pro, and 21 in GTD.

Given the tight nature of Watkins Glen, navigating through slower traffic will be key for the GTP drivers – after all, this is the first “full” field since the 12 Hours of Sebring back in March. 

After last year’s performances, the #6 Porsche squad of Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy will be ones to watch. Despite the issues that plagued the rest of the field, they outlasted the rest to take victory on-track.

However, they did not get to keep that victory; instead, it went to the #25 BMW, piloted by Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly. Even if they weren’t the outright fastest last year, they were there to take advantage of the Porsche’s disqualification. Perhaps this race will be the one to turn BMW’s mediocre season around.

In LMP2, last year’s class winners – the #04 CrowdStrike Racing entry – are also ones to watch. Unlike the other three classes, they dominated proceedings with Ben Hanley, George Kurtz, and Nolan Siegel. With a lineup just as strong (Kurtz, Colin Braun, and Toby Sowery), they will look to replicate that success.

But it would be criminal to ignore the only winners in the LMP2 class so far this season: the #18 Era Motorsport entry – piloted by Ryan Dalziel, Dwight Merriman, and Connor Zilisch. Given their reign of dominance in the class thus far, they are expected to continue it into Watkins Glen.

As for the GTD Pro class, the pair of Laurin Heinrich and Seb Priaulx in the #77 Porsche have momentum on their sides. Following two class victories in a row in Long Beach and Detroit, bringing that pace to The Glen will be paramount. 

Ignoring the #14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus – driven by Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth – would be asinine, as they won this race last year. Not only that, but their win in the most recent “endurance” event in Sebring further solidifies their status as favorites.

Lastly, the GTD class has been dominated this year by the #77 Mercedes crew of Philip Ellis and Russell Ward. Aside from finishing seventh in Long Beach, they have won three races so far this season, and will look to make it four.

Likewise to the GTD Pro class though, the #12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus won this race last year. Piloted by Frankie Montecalvo, Parker Thompson, and Aaron Telitz, Vasser Sullivan are certainly looking to make it consecutive years of double-class wins.


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