- Double-win day as MSR scores GTD front row sweep ahead of Glen victory, nearly half of GTLM/GTD/DPi podium finishers carry AERO
WATKINS GLEN, New York (July 2, 2019) — Scoring a huge overall victory with a new partner team while also claiming a GTD win and podium appearances in both the GTD and GTLM classes in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, it was a breakthrough winning weekend for AERO ® Sustainable Paint Technology at Watkins Glen International.
After the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season saw the dual Mazda Team Joest entries show pace and enormous promise, but no victories, the team went to work over the off-season to rectify that. Looking at every aspect of the team’s performance, the squad arrived at Daytona with a new boost of confidence with expectations of reliability to match their speed.
They also looked incredible, as one of the pre-season changes was to partner with AERO ® Sustainable Paint Technology to provide the paint for the beautiful Soul Red Crystal Mazda RT24-P machines.
Those advantages all combined for a huge victory this weekend at Watkins Glen International, as the Mazda Team Joest operation dominated the race with a convincing 1-2 race finish.
The No. 55 Mazda Team Joest of Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell, and Olivier Pla took a .353 -seconds victory over the sister No. 77 of Olly Jarvis, Tristen Nunez, and Timo Bernhard. The No. 77 Mazda had started on pole after setting a new track record in qualifying.
While the margin was close between the two Mazdas as they crossed the line, it was a full 11 seconds back to the Penske Acura of Juan Montoya after the Mazdas combined to lead 183 of the 211 lap race distance in a dominating performance from start to finish.
"It's been an amazing journey,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “We've been close but we never gave up -that's the Mazda philosophy, to never stop challenging. To see that Soul Red Crystal Mazda RT24-P cross the finish line makes this such a special day. This is a group victory for the Mazda brand, and the people as well. I couldn't be happier.”
While the Mazda’s stole the show in DPi, it was another fierce fight for the top step of the GTLM podium.
After the sister car was eliminated in an opening lap crash, the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R came up just 0.452-seconds short of a victory after 6 hours of racing to finish second for Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen. The Corvette Racing squad, which has adapted the AERO ® advantage for their paint, captured their third straight podium at Watkins Glen International.
Additionally, the result tightened up the IMSA GTLM points battle, which sees one point separate three different entries on top.
“I am happy for the team and happy for the points,” said Magussen. “But it’s been awhile since our last win. We keep getting so close but it is getting hard to come up with excuses. We just need to go out there and do it… get that win. I am very happy with how the whole team performed. We could not have done much better. So we will just go on to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, another fantastic track, and see if we can get a win there.”
The Rolex 24-winning Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing BMW M8’s that also utilize AERO were missing its racing luck on Sunday, with a pit fire costing Tom Blomqvist and Connor DePhillippi a shot at a result in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M8, while the sister No. 24 of Jesse Krohn and Johnathan Edwards came home fifth.
After Meyer Shank Racing swept the GTD front row in qualifying with the teams AERO-equipped Acura NSX machines, it was the No. 86 AutoNation NSX GT3 of Trent Hindman, Mario Farnbacher, and Justin Marks that scored the victory in GTD. The team has shown strength at the track, capturing three consecutive podium finishes in the tough 6 Hour race including two race wins in the last three years.
Scuderia Corsa helped its championship ambitions with a run to third in GTD behind the combined effort of Toni Vilander, Cooper MacNeil, and Jeff Westphal. The AERO ® painted WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 had a strong close to the race to make a hard charge to the podium in the closing laps.
It was a fighting fifth place for AERO ® runners in the No. 14 Lexus as Richard Heistand, Jack Hawksworth, and Patrick Frommenwiler brought it home less than half a minute adrift of the GTD class winning car. Will Owen and Rene Binder were in IMSA WeatherTech action as well for Juncos racing, as the young duo shared the controls of the No. 50 Cadillac DPi for a run to eighth overall.
Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) four-hour enduro also saw AERO squads in action, including the expanded two-car Carbahn/Peregrine Racing effort that scored third at the finish of the race with Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal. The third consecutive podium finish for the duo means that they have moved to second in the championship standings with just 4 points separating them from the lead in the No. 39 Carbahn/Peregrine Racing Audi R8.
The racing gods were far less considerate to the AERO-liveried No. 75 Compass Racing McLaren piloted by Paul Holton and Kuno Wittmer that finished 17th, as well as the fan favorite HART entry of Chad Gilsinger and Ryan Eversley, which finished twelfth in class after a tire issue put them into the wall and out of the race.
It is a quick turn-around for all the IMSA runners as the championship will head north to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this weekend for the annual visit to the fast circuit east of Toronto.