Watkins Glen: Porsche Motorsport preview

PORSCHE TEAMS CONTINUE ROLEX GRAND-AM TITLE CHASES AT WATKINS GLEN WATKINS GLEN, New York - June 2 - The upcoming June 6 Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen continues the tradition of endurance sports car racing at Watkins Glen International ...

PORSCHE TEAMS CONTINUE ROLEX GRAND-AM TITLE CHASES AT WATKINS GLEN

WATKINS GLEN, New York - June 2 - The upcoming June 6 Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen continues the tradition of endurance sports car racing at Watkins Glen International 3.4-mile, 11-turn "long" circuit, and Porsche's successes at the Glen is just as historic as the track itself.

Hurley Haywood scored his first class win at the Glen in 1969 - in fact, Haywood still holds the record for most races won at the Glen, with six of his nine victories there coming in a Six Hour race; Roger Penske and Mark Donohue won Can-Am races there in the '70s in a Porsche 917; Porsche introduced its first turbocharged 911 race car (the Martini Porsche 930) at the Glen in 1974; Elliott Forbes-Robinson won with an IMSA Porsche 944 GTU there in the 1981; and Al Holbert was victorious with the 962 in the mid-80's.

This year's event, The Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen will take place on Saturday, June 6th and is scheduled to start at 2:15 PM ET. The early action will be covered on SPEED TV live from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, with coverage resuming at 6:00 PM through 8:30 PM for the finish. Live timing and scoring for the entire event will be on the Grand-Am website - www.grand-am.com, with regular weekend updates also posted on www.twitter.com/RolexSeries.

In the Daytona Prototype class, three Porsche Rileys take up the race on the 3.4-mile circuit located between Corning and Elmira, New York. The number 12 Penske Racing Porsche Riley, with Porsche factory pilots Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France), has earned one pole position and a third place in the race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

At the most recent race at Laguna Seca they were well on the way to claim a podium result when a stop-and-go penalty shortly before the finish pushed them back in the field. Timo Bernhard had allegedly jumped the restart after a safety-car phase. Despite being handicapped further by the regulations with another reduction in engine revs, which had a negative impact on the performance of the all the Porsche Rileys at Laguna Seca, the pair is making a renewed charge for a top placing at the six hour race in Watkins Glen.

"Watkins Glen is the last long race of the season. It is favorable for us that quick pit stops are as important for success as fast lap times, because the Penske crew is always several seconds quicker than the competition," says Timo Bernhard, who recently won the 24 hour race on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife again with Romain Dumas in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Bernhard also competed in Watkins Glen in 2005.

"That will certainly be an advantage for us because it's a very demanding circuit. It has many fast corners and is like a roller-coaster - basically everything that makes a race track difficult and interesting," he said.

The Brumos Porsche Racing team will again enter two Porsche Riley prototypes, and will try to get back on top of the podium, where they stood so proudly in January after their win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona

The entire Brumos team is ready for a return to the winners' circle. No one could pick a more appropriate place for that return than the Glen, the home track of Elmira natives Michael Colucci (team manager) and the late Bob Snodgrass (former Brumos owner). Indeed, the Glen proved lucky for the team last year, as both Brumos entries placed in the top ten, with #58 on the podium following their second place finish.

Familiar faces from Daytona's Victory Lane will be returning to the Glen to join the full-time drivers and lend their talents to the Brumos effort. Returning to join #58 drivers Darren Law and David Donohue is Brumos veteran and fellow Rolex 24 co-driver Buddy Rice. Law and Donohue have typically competed in the Six Hour race without assistance from a third driver. This year the addition of Rice to the lineup will insure extra coverage is available if needed. Rice's experience with Brumos and camaraderie with his co-drivers make him a welcome addition, and as an additional benefit, he will stay on to participate with the team in the test day following the race.

Hurley Haywood will be marking his 40th anniversary of that first victory at the Glen by joining the driver lineup in the Brumos car whose #59 he made famous. Rolex 24 co-driver Terry Borcheller will also be joining Haywood, with full-time drivers J.C. France and Joao Barbosa rounding out a four-man roster.

Two Porsche Motorsport customer teams - TRG and Farnbacher Loles Racing - will resume their tight battle for Rolex Grand-Am GT class supremacy. TRG's Spencer Pumpelly (Suwannee, GA) leads Farnbacher Lole's Dirk Werner (Germany) and Leh Keen (Charleston, SC) by one point, 117-116, in the Rolex Grand-Am GT Driver's Championship standings.

Pumpelly's #39 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup team leads Werner/Keen's #87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche 911 GT3 Cup team by the same margin, 117-116, in the GT Team Championship standings.

But Werner/Keen have one victory (New Jersey) to Pumpelly and teammate Ted Ballou's (Corona Del Mar, Ca.) none in the first four events of the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 this year.

"It is time for Ted and I to win," Pumpelly says simply. "It is odd to be leading the points without a race victory, but that just shows the consistency of the TRG team. Winning a championship is a matter of consistent finishes but we would prefer to be consistently winning races."

While TRG and Farnbacher Loles are focused on their "best Porsche" battle, they are also very aware of top caliber competition from Mazda and Pontiac multi-car teams. The #57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac of Robin Liddell (England) and Andrew Davis (Bogart, Ga.) won at Virginia, and the #70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 of Nic Ham (Evergreen, Co.) and Sylvain Tremblay (Coral Springs, Fl.) won Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Both TRG and Farnbacher Loles have strong second entries, too.

The #67 TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Andy Lally (Newport, NY) and Justin Marks (Chico, CA) won the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, but two 15th place finishes in other three races have them mired in seventh place in the driver standings with 95 points each.

Farnbacher Loles' second-best team (so far) is the #85 entry of Eric Lux (Jacksonville, FL) and Wolf Henzler (Germany). Lux ranks fifth in points but Henzler is just 26th with 41 points after missing the last two races.

-credit: porsche motorsport

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Robin Liddell , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Andy Lally , Hurley Haywood , Darren Law , David Donohue , Timo Bernhard , Al Holbert , Joao Barbosa , Sylvain Tremblay , Buddy Rice , Justin Marks , Spencer Pumpelly , Andrew Davis , Romain Dumas , Bob Snodgrass , J.C. Fra , Wolf Henzler , Lehman Keen , Eric Lux , Roger Penske , Dirk Werner , Ted Ballou , Mark Donohue
Teams Team Penske , Stevenson Motorsports , SpeedSource