Pla sets record pace for Shank at Watkins Glen
All four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar classes set unofficial record-breaking laps in practice for this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
Olivier Pla posted the fastest time of the day, running 1min36.155sec (127.2mph) in Michael Shank Racing’s Ligier Honda JS P2, on the back of co-driver Ozz Negri leading the morning session. Both of their best laps bettered the class record of 1:37.902 (125.023 mph), set in 2014.
Said Pla: “As soon as I did the track walk with John [Pew] and Ozz yesterday, I knew I was going to love the track.
“It’s a really fast track, and I love tracks with fast corners. You can really feel the G forces in your neck. It makes it fun to drive.
“The race will be very tough so we’ll have to be good on strategy and stay out of trouble and if we do that, I think we’ll be good.”
The Mazda Prototypes driven by Jonathan Bomarito and Bernard Devlin were second and fifth fastest respectively, although JB was over 0.75sec slower than Pla’s benchmark time. Between the maroon cars were Johannes van Overbeek in ESM Racing’s Ligier-Honda and Christian Fittipaldi in the fastest of the Corvette Daytona Prototypes.
Le Mans class winner Joey Hand topped the GT Le Mans class at WGI, with a lap of 1:43.309 (118.4 mph) in #66 Ganassi Ford GT, edging his teammate Richard Westbrook by mere hundredths of a second.
Westbrook a two-time winner at Watkins Glen in the prototype class, commented: ““This has always been a good track for me. It has a nice rhythm, nice flow, and a lot of history.
“Everyone on the team has had a little more spring in their step after Laguna [Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe gave the Ford GT its first victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May]. After that victory, we were confident going over to Le Mans – where we had two podium finishes – and now we’re looking forward to the remainder of the season.”
Third fastest was John Edwards in the BMW M6 run by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, with Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari 488 in fourth.
Defending Sahlen’s Six Hour Prototype Challenge (PC) winner Renger van de Zande led his class with a lap of 1:38.582 (124.1 mph) in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09 co-driven by Alex Popow. Colin Braun was second in the No. 54 CORE autosport entry.
Stevenson Motorsports Audis ran 1-2 in GT Daytona (GTD). Robin Liddell clocked the best lap of the day in the opening session, 1:46.147 (115.3 mph) in the No. 6 Stevenson Auto Group Audi R8 LMS GT3 co-driven by Andrew Davis. Lawson Aschenbach led the afternoon session in the team’s No. 9 entry co-driven by Matt Bell, running 1:46.259 (115.1 mph).
Keating and Bleekemolen racing for second-straight win Sunday in No. 33 Viper GT3-R
ESM's Pipo Derani leads final practice at Watkins Glen
About this article
|Location||Watkins Glen International|
|Drivers||Olivier Pla , Ryan Briscoe , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Jonathan Bomarito|
|Teams||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Stevenson Motorsports , Meyer Shank Racing , Mazda Motorsports|