A gearbox failure ended the day on lap 74 for the DeltaWing coupe.
WATKINS GLEN, NY. – The revolutionary DeltaWing coupe ran as high as sixth in today’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, coming from a tenth place starting position and running within a second of the leader’s pace. In the end, a gearbox failure ended the day on lap 74 but developments with the car over the past several weeks have the team encouraged as the development program continues.
The team had planned double stints for drivers Gabby Chaves and Katherine Legge, with Chaves starting the race. At the green flag, Chaves timed his approach perfectly, getting a run on the inside through the first two turns to take over eighth place. Chaves set the coupe’s fast time of 1:41.061 on lap 17, keeping the car on the lead lap and running times competitive with the lead group. It was a smooth stint until late in the first hour when Chaves found himself up close and personal with the spinning #007 Aston Martin in turn nine. Chaves was able to avoid an incident, but by mere inches.
The luck of the flag was not with Legge, who took over in on lap 57, 1:40 into the race, only to find herself in not one but two lengthy yellows, which limited her stint to only five laps of green flag running.
The Watkins Glen event – race six of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship - also marked the third of four races in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
Gabby Chaves: “It was a good start. I had a good run off the last corner and as the green flag came out, I was able to get inside and be clear of the Patrón car, then make another pass going into turn two. It really was a trouble-free stint. The car was good, we were very close in time to the leaders and we were on the lead lap. I did have a close encounter with the 007 Aston-Martin - he came out of turn nine and had a tank slapper, which spun him. He was facing me as he was spinning. Thankfully, I was able to get on the brakes and move past without hitting him, but we couldn’t have missed by more than inches. It was a really close call. There was more traffic in my second stint but we had good pace and the car was very good in traffic. We were right where we needed to be, keeping up with the race leaders until the yellow came out and we had the gearbox problem. We’re making big progress toward making it a very competitive car, so we’re taking steps in the right directions. Our priority is finishing the next race. I know everyone here will work night and day to make that happen.”
Katherine Legge: “Most of my stint was under yellow, I didn’t get many green flag laps. I wasn’t able to really push hard. I’m disappointed for the team, because we did a great deal of work coming into the weekend and we were all pretty confident we would have a good finish. Even though it’s short, we’ll take the time we have between now and the race in Canada and get things sorted. We’ve improved since the test last week and it’s getting better and better.”
Team Manager Tim Keene: “We had a good start and were able to run a very competitive pace. We were as fast as the cars in front of us. It’s very disappointing – we had such positive results from the test and moving forward with the change in the gearbox. We had over 600 miles on that gearbox before we switched to the new one last night. We did the same procedure, vetting everything in, so to not finish is disappointing. We’ll figure it out and focus on the race in Canada.”