Speed and endurance equally important at Watkins Glen

It's the third of four races deciding the Patron Endurance Cup

When the green flag falls Sunday on the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, it will signal the start of two points races – one for the season championship of the TUDOR United SportsCar Series, and one for the Tequila Patrón Endurance Cup, a separate championship decided by the four longest endurance races in the series.

The Watkins Glen race is the third of the four endurance matches. First was the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, followed by March’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The last of the four races is the 10-hour Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on October 4.

The number 5 Action Express Racing Corvette (in photo), a Daytona Prototype, holds a one-point lead in the Endurance Cup. Indeed, just three points separate the top five teams in the Prototype class – that class includes Daytona Prototypes from the Grand-Am series, and the Le Mans P2 cars from the American Le Mans Series. Grand-Am and ALMS combined at the start of the season to form the Tudor Championship.

In the endurance Cup, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, drivers of the Action Express Corvette, are one point ahead of Sage Karam, driver for Chip Ganassi Racing’s number 02 Ford-Riley. Third is Wayne Taylor Racing’s number 10 Corvette DP, followed by Ganassi’s number 01 Ford-Riley, then the other Action Express Corvette DP, carrying the number 9. With Ganassi’s number 02 Ford not entered at The Glen, the team added Karam to the number 01car, with regular drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. At stake is a $100,000 check for the top finisher in the four races.

In the regular season points, Wayne Taylor Corvette drivers Ricky and Jordon Taylor – they are brothers, and sons of team owner Wayne Taylor -- are seven points ahead of Action Express drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi. Pruett and Rojas are third, 15 points behind the winners.

“Watkins Glen is one of the classic road-racing venues in America,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet’s Corvette Daytona Prototype Program Manager. “Six hours around The Glen is an incredibly difficult task. There is a good mix of high-speed straights and corners along with demanding technical sections. It will take a well-balanced car to have success in this year’s race. With the Daytona Prototypes running in a different configuration than in years past, preparation will be key. Our simulations and having multiple Corvette DPs test at Watkins Glen should benefit all our teams. But the main issue will be managing traffic. A grid of 55 cars is considerably more than we’ve seen the last few years. It only adds to the challenge of winning this important race.”

Well, two races, really.

FOX Sports1 will broadcast six-and-a-half hours of live coverage Sunday, with Bob Varsha leading the broadcast team starting at 11 a.m. ET, with the green flag set to wave at 15 minutes later. In addition to all six hours of racing action, FOX Sports 1 will air 15 additional minutes of post-race interviews.

IMSA.com will be streaming TUDOR Championship qualifying beginning at 4:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, following full coverage of the Continental Tire 150, a two-and-a-half hour race for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge beginning at 11:35 a.m. ET. IMSA.com will also carry live timing and scoring from all of the practice sessions.

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About this article
Series IMSA
Event Watkins Glen
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Joao Barbosa , Memo Rojas , Chip Ganassi , Sage Karam
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Action Express Racing , Wayne Taylor Racing
Article type Preview
Tags chevrolet corvette, dp, joao barbosa, tequila patron, watkins glen