WeatherTech Notes Wrap: Watkins Glen and CTMP

July 12, 2019

WeatherTech Notes Wrap: Watkins Glen and CTMP

July 12, 2019

The last two race weekends have been intense for IMSA. In the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Mazda (DPi), Porsche (GTLM) and PR1/Mathiasen (LMP2) all went back-to-back to win at Watkins Glen

Here are additional post-race notebooks from DaytonaSebringLong Beach, Mid-Ohio and Detroit.

DPi/LMP2
Mazda Motorsports North America director John Doonan rides in with Harry Tincknell in No. 55 Mazda RT24-P.
  • Year-on-year, there were significant qualifying and race lap improvements in DPi at Watkins Glen thanks in large part to Michelin. The 2019 pole was 2.711 seconds quicker and the 2019 best race lap was 3.767 seconds faster. CTMP’s improvements were still quick, with 0.863 (qualifying) and 1.166 (race) improvements year-on-year.
  • We’ll have more on Mazda’s breakout two weeks in the coming weeks. But their two weeks in New York and Canada were nearly perfect. Mazda Team Joest delivered two 1-2 finishes, with either of its No. 55 and No. 77 RT24-Ps leading the way. The No. 77 scored the pole with Olly Jarvis at Watkins Glen. Jarvis (CTMP) and Olivier Pla (Watkins Glen) set the fastest race laps. And Mazda led 300 of 336 total laps (183 of 211 at Watkins Glen, 117 of 125 at CTMP) in the eight hours, 40 minutes of racing.
  • The Acura Team Penske pairing of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya were “best of the rest” on both occasions. A pair of third place finishes extended their run of podium finishes to five in a row in the No. 6 ARX-05.
  • Acura’s second car of Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves has been astronomically consistent, with seven top-five finishes in as many races. They’re the only car in DPi to achieve that.
  • Cadillac was unable to place a car higher than fourth in either race. The No. 10 Konica Minolta and No. 31 Whelen Engineering DPi-V.Rs persevered to fourth in the consecutive races.
  • CORE autosport’s usual strategy to qualify Colin Braun, then start Jon Bennett, didn’t pay the same dividends Sunday in CTMP. Late contact with the No. 7 car pitched Braun’s No. 54 Nissan DPi off course, then through a gap into Moss Corner without getting hit by anyone else. CORE has inadvertently paid tribute to the popular 7-Eleven convenience store by finishing either P7 or P11 in each of the last five races.
  • PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ three-race win streak in LMP2 has come with three different lineups, and helped propel Matt McMurry to the class championship lead. McMurry wasn’t able to celebrate his Watkins Glen win on the podium as he had to jet to Spa-Francorchamps to test ahead of the Total 24 Hours of Spa. McMurry shared the No. 52 ORECA 07 with Eric Lux at Mid-Ohio, Lux and Gabriel Aubry at Watkins Glen, and Canadian driver Dalton Kellett in his IMSA debut at CTMP.
GTLM
Both Porsche pairings on the podium, with No. 24 BMW pair on for first time in 2019. Photo: Michelin North America
  • Similar to Mid-Ohio, Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor thanked the Porsche GT Team for better strategy to get them the track position they needed to win.
  • The pair also said it doesn’t matter which of the two Porsche cars wins, either them or Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, so long as they’re helping Porsche in the manufacturer’s championship. Right now just four points separates the Porsche driver pairings. But Porsche holds a significant 24-point lead in the manufacturer standings.
  • Ford finally made it back to the podium with its No. 67 Ford GT of Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe at Watkins Glen. This came despite a delayed pit stop. The pair finished fifth at CTMP.
  • After running historic Brumos (Porsche) and Ford GT (Ford) liveries the last two races, expect the pair of 911 RSRs and GTs back in their standard GTLM liveries at Lime Rock.
  • BMW’s No. 24 M8 GTE also made a welcome first podium appearance at CTMP with John Edwards and Jesse Krohn. With these two cars on the podium in the last two races, it ensures all eight full-season GTLM cars have had at least one podium finish this year. With Risi Competizione on the podium in Daytona, all nine that have started a race have been on as well.
  • Corvette’s No. 3 C7.R podium run of four races in a row ended with seventh at CTMP. Two-time defending class champions Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen now sit 11 points back of Bamber and Vanthoor for the class lead in third place.
The two Porsche 911 RSRs in their Brumos historic liveries. Photo: Michelin North America
Expect the Ford GTs back to dark blue, red and white at Lime Rock. Photo: Michelin North America
GTD
Watkins Glen GTD podium with the Michelin Man and Michelin dealers. Photo: Michelin North America
  • Similar to DPi, GTD’s last two races had the same top two finishers, but in reverse order. Meyer Shank’s No. 86 Acura led home Turner’s No. 96 BMW at Watkins Glen, with the positions reversed a week later in CTMP. Scuderia Corsa Ferrari (Watkins Glen) and AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus (CTMP) completed the podiums.
  • The No. 86 pairing of Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher lead the GTD standings by 19 points with six races complete and five to go.
  • The closest battle in this class is in the manufacturer’s standings. Acura, Lamborghini and Lexus are covered by just three points (152-150-149).
  • Meyer Shank’s second car, the Heinricher Racing, Caterpillar-backed all-female entry, posted its two best results of the season first with fourth then sixth. While Katherine Legge is in all races, Christina Nielsen and Bia Figueiredo rotate in alongside based on availability.
  • PFAFF Motorsports also had its two best finishes of the year with sixth, then fifth. They field the heavily Canadian “Plaid Porsche” driven by Zacharie Robichon and Scott Hargrove.
  • Audi scaled back with Starworks Motorsport opting out of CTMP and Lime Rock, and Moorespeed having to withdraw from Watkins Glen after an incident in practice.
  • Meanwhile Wright Motorsports will return to GTD action for the next two races, where they enjoyed success in 2018 with both poles and one race win. Anthony Imperato will step up to WeatherTech Championship action alongside Matt Campbell at Lime Rock, and Dennis Olsen at Road America.

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