No. 7 PPM 963 claims second IMSA enduro of the year at Watkins Glen

The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen was a matter of 4h40m of survival, some massive strokes of luck that looked awful and turned positive, and 16 minutes of sprint racing.

A sudden downpour that began with 1h46m left in the race sent several cars sliding off track which triggered a full-course caution. That became a red flag as water overwhelmed the track and cars could barely stay on the pavement even behind the safety car. By the time the race went green with 16 minutes left, it had undergone a complete reset.

Before the yellow flew, all the GTP leaders came in for wets. Both Porsche Penske Motorsport 963s got trapped in their pit boxes in the crowded pit lane, and while the No. 6 and No. 7 had been first and third, respectively, they ended up fifth and sixth while the two Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06s led the field, the No. 40 leading the No. 10.


When the red changed back to a full-course caution and the field was back under the safety car, all the cars that had pitted for wets came back in for slicks, as the track was nearly dry again. Louis Deletraz in the No. 40 Acura led, but Felipe Nasr in the No. 7 Porsche had come out of the stop in second, followed by Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R, Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 6 PPM 963 and Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8.

The restart was delayed by the No. 10 Acura losing a wheel, leaving only 16 minutes of intense racing to go. When it came, it was almost a replay of the start 5h45m prior, when polesitter Deletraz was swamped by the cars behind as he struggled to get temperature in the tires. Nasr and van der Zande were by quickly, Nasr making his move in Turn 1 at the green. Jaminet followed a short time later, pushing Deletraz back to fourth.

With the No. 01 Cadillac now on the tail of the No. 7 Porsche, van der Zande started pressuring Nasr, but Nasr’s decisive moves in traffic kept van der Zande at bay. Nasr crossed the finish 0.749s ahead of the Cadillac, giving him and Dane Cameron their second win of the season after the Rolex 24 at Daytona and padded their GTP championship lead over van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais. In this sixth race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, Cameron and Nasr became the first team to win more than one race. The sister 963 of Jaminet and Nick Tandy was third, and Deletraz and Jordan Taylor fourth as the top four finished in championship order.

With newly minted 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Nicklas Nielsen in the No. 88 ORECA for its final stint, AF Corse took the LMP2 victory, with Nielsen, Luis Perez Companc and Lilou Wadoux Ducellier. The No. 88 was nearly taken out a couple of times, once on the first lap as Dwight Merriman poked the nose of the No. 18 Era Motorsports ORECA inside and spun Companc, and at the end of the race when Felipe Fraga tried a similar move, but only spun the No. 74 Riley Motorsports ORECA.

Fraga recovered to finish third on the track, but the second-place No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR team of Colin Braun, George Kurtz and Toby Sowery fell afoul of drive-time rules, so Fraga, Gar Robinson and Josh Burdon claimed second. The No. 52 Inter

Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA of Jakub Smiechowski, Tom Dillman and Nick Boulle finished third.

The GTD PRO and GTD classes really came down in large part to luck. 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.

GTD PRO’s top three followed suit, 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 Kirchhöfer 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.

Winward Racing found itself in a similar situation, having been on slicks through the red flag and ready to go as the race resumed on a dry track. 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.

Ellis had to fend off the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with Jan Heylen at the wheel at the end, 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.


Story originally appeared on Racer