Heart of Racing and Winward net fortune reversal wins at the Glen

The GTD PRO and GTD class victories in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen really came down in large part to luck. Wherever a team might have ben in the race for the first two thirds didn’t matter when the skies opened up with 1h46m to go in the race.

When that happened, cars went sliding off track, several getting beached in the gravel traps, and others such as the No. 78 Forte Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 having serious contact with the wall. All that brought out a full-course caution that eventually turned into a red flag due to standing water on the track.

Cars that didn’t get into the pits for wets before the full-course caution and closed pit that preceded the red flag seemed screwed at first, but were saved by the long red flag. With dry tires already on the car when the race restarted, they didn’t need to visit the pits again and gained track position. For most, fuel wasn’t a concern.


Those that stayed on slicks included the top three in GTD PRO as the race headed for a restart with 16m left, led by Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Z06 GT3.R, followed by Ross Gunn in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo and Marvin Kirchhofer in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports McLaren 720S Evo.

Gunn hounded Milner and attacked several times, but couldn’t get the move done. Milner’s defense of the lead came to nought because the Corvette had had its final pit stop earlier than the others and was low on fuel. Milner pulling into the pits for a splash as the final lap began handed the victory to Gunn and Alex Riberas. It was Heart of Racing’s first victory of the season in the WeatherTech Championship, as well as the first for the Evo version of the Vantage GT3.

“The end was very exciting,” declared Gunn. “We were fortunate that we were in a position to fight for the lead. I was aware that the Corvette was really, really tight with fuel and I just had to push Milner as hard as I could and not allow him to save any fuel. That worked out pretty well. Coming on to the home straight with him peeling off on the last lap was definitely something I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life. It was an amazing team effort from everybody.”

The victory was momentous for a winning team that has had some struggles this season.

“I would say it’s without a doubt one of my proudest wins because it was such a big team effort,” said Riberas. “We were down for a bit. We made some mistakes, and I would say that really is a test for the team. I would say it’s never the first mistake that is the costly one, it’s always the second and the third mistake and today we didn’t let the first mistake dictate our faith for the rest of the race. We stayed together. We didn’t point fingers or panic. We stayed focused on controlling what we could control and making the most out of it. Ultimately that ended up leading to making a decision that had a big impact in the outcome of the race.”

Kirchhofer and Oliver Jarvis finished second in the Pfaff McLaren, followed by Antonio Garcia and Alexander Sims saving a bit of face for Corvette by putting the No. 3 in third.

The victory moved Gunn – Riberas has missed some races this year due to conflicts – into third in the GTD PRO Championship with 1572 points to Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth’s 1583 in second. Seb Priaulx and Laurin Heinrich continue to lead the championship for AO Racing at 1632.

Jake Galstad/Lumen

Winward Racing found itself in a similar situation as the GTD PRO leaders, having been on slicks through the red flag and ready to go as the race resumed on a dry track. In fact, despite the weather, the team never went to rain tires. Winward took the GTD victory for Russell Ward, Philip Ellis and Indy Dontje in the No. 57 Mercedes AMG. It was the team’s fourth GTD victory in five races this season, and Winward has swept the Michelin Endurance Cup races so far.

“You saw a lot of mixed weather conditions,” explained Ellis. “Very heavy rain coming down at times and then sometimes just a bit of drizzle, which made some some others fall for it and then take rain tires. For most of the race, I’d say we were always on the right tires at the the right time. To be honest, we were bit lucky with red flag coming out — just had to roll the dice that we were fueled enough to make to the end. After that it was just keeping the cars behind. The team, Russell and Indy have done an amazing job with very difficult conditions today.”

Ellis had to first fend off the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with polesitter Parker Thompson at the wheel. Attacking on the outside going into the Inner Loop, Thompson ended up missing it and fell down the order. The No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with Jan Heylen at the wheel was then closing on Ellis, but Heylen, Elliot Skeer and Adam Adelson didn’t end up with second due to a drive time violation. The No. 34 Conquest Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 of Manny Franco, Albert Costa Balboa and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli was second, followed by John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo.

Ward and Ellis now have almost a full race win lead over the competition, their 1745 points being 315 more than Patrick Gallagher and Robby Foley. It’s been a remarkable run for the team in 2024.

“The drivers kind of just did their jobs today,” said Ward. “We didn’t bin the car, didn’t run it off up off track. It’s just a testament to the group of people we put together.”


Story originally appeared on Racer