Weather uncertainty adds to Watkins Glen Six Hours challenge

Sunday brings a slight break to the heat that the teams have had to deal with over the last couple of days, but also a greater chance of thunderstorms during the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. The thunderstorms could bring a little rain or, in more severe cases, hail and lightning. The latter will shut down the proceedings, as happened a couple of years ago. At any rate, it will still be quite warm and humid, which will take a toll on drivers and crew.

Drivers haven’t had any experience at WGI in the rain this weekend, as thunderstorms have skirted the track and kept it relatively dry for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship sessions.

GTP and LMP2 teams have seven sets of Michelin hard-compound tires for qualifying and race, which should be sufficient so that they don’t have to double stint. GTD and GTD PRO teams have had nine sets to use throughout the weekend.


Rain tires don’t count against allocations, so if there is rain, that makes the tire situation even easier to deal with. However, the drivers that experienced the Michelin rain tire at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend note that too much water can overwhelm the sipes in the tread, and they wear out quickly once the track starts to dry.

Polesitter Louis Delétraz says he expects heat to be factor with the tires if it stays dry, but also expects some yellows with the number of cars on track, so the tire degradation may not be as bad.

Minimum drive time for the pro classes, GTP and GTD PRO, is 30 minutes. The minimum drive time for LMP2 and GTD is 1h30m. The Pro-Am classes must use three drivers, while the pro classes have the option of using only two.

BMW replacement chassis ready to go

The replacement chassis for the No. 25 BMW arrived from Indianapolis and the BMW M Team RLL crew went to work quickly to prepare it for today’s race. The basic operation was taking the back half off the car that crashed in practice yesterday and mating it to the test chassis. The team is confident that the car will be ready for the race, although having it ready for inspection and making it to the installation lap is in question.

Why use three?

Most of the GTP and GTD PRO teams have opted to stick with their two full-season drivers. Whelen Cadillac Racing is one of the exceptions, bringing endurance addition Tom Blomqvist in to assist Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken.

“He’ll be a fresh face, which will be welcome,” said Aitken of Blomqvist. “Tom in Daytona and Sebring was pretty invaluable, not just because he was bloody fast, but he has a wealth of experience with this breed of cars. So he has a lot of input on the setup side as well. So I think we ended up being a pretty strong trio in that regard. It makes me quite confident that we’ll get the car into a good place pretty quickly. And I look forward to having an extra couple of hours’ rest in the race as well.”

How to watch/listen

The first half of the race, scheduled for an 11:10am ET start, will be carried on the USA Network. The race in its entirety will be streamed on Peacock, or on outside the U.S. IMSA Radio will also cover the race, and fans can find the stream on as well as SiriusXM live race coverage begins at 11 a.m. (XM 206, Web/App 996).

Story originally appeared on Racer