The Six Hours of Watkins Glen race was held on Sunday in front of a great crowd at the historic track, and fans were treated to some fantastic racing among the various classes, with the best battle of the day taking place in GTP between Connor De Phillippi in the #25 BMW M Hybrid V8, and Mathieu Jaminet in the #6 Porsche 963. Jaminet got the better of that fight by taking the victory, but had the win taken away after failing post-race inspection to give BMW Team RLL their first win in the GTP class. Paul Miller Racing also reached the podium in the GTD class, with Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, and Corey Lewis taking second place in their #1 M4 GT3.
The weather forecast had been at top of mind all weekend and rain was forecasted for Sunday, but it turned out to be a beautiful day at The Glen. Unfortunately, the race was over before it even began for the #24 M Hybrid V8 of Augusto Farfus and Philipp Eng, as Farfus lost control of the car on cold tires on the first corner of the first lap and went hard into the Armco, doing significant damage to the car and forcing its retirement.
The #25 car also had some close calls. Connor De Phillippi hit a spinning Cadillac and damaged the front end, which needed to be replaced. They fought back from the rear of the GTP field and were helped by attrition with some of the other GTP cars to find themselves in the lead in the final hour. The final thirty minutes came down to a great battle between De Phillippi in the BMW and Mathieu Jaminet in the #6 Porsche. De Phillippi was driving as hard as he could but lost the lead when the two cars came upon slower traffic. De Phillippi held on to finish second at the finish, but was awarded the win with co-driver Nick Yelloly after the Porsche failed post-race inspection when a skid block was found to be less than the permitted minimum thickness.
The Paul Miller Racing team put in another great performance to get a second-place finish in GTD after going down three laps early in the race due to technical issues with the car. Thanks to multiple caution periods and some attrition from other cars as well as a great team effort, the car finished on the podium in second place in GTD behind the winning Lexus to maintain the championship points lead. “It’s crazy!” said Sellers after the race. “Days like today are the days that keep you alive in the championship. It looked like we were going to take a pretty big hit on the points there but with a little bit of luck with the yellows, a good car, good strategy, and good pit stops, we were able to claw our way back up into it.”
Turner Motorsport had some bad luck in both GTD and GTD Pro. The #96 M4 GT3 of Robby Foley, Patrick Gallagher, and Michael Dinan was a contender for most of the race, but fell back to thirteenth by the end, one lap down from the leaders. The #95 GTD Pro class car driven by Bill Auberlen, Chandler Hull, and John Edwards was classified seventh in class after Auberlen had a dramatic crash at the end of the race, with the car flipping onto its roof after colliding with the tire was and landing upright. Thankfully, Auberlen walked away from the car and appeared to be unhurt.
Next up for the IMSA is the Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the weekend of July 7th and 9th. —David Haueter
[Photos by David Haueter]