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6/22/2023

Aiming high for Watkins Glen.

Six hours across hill and glen.

5,47 kilometers long and eleven turns: The Watkins Glen International racetrack is in the midst of preparations for the upcoming 6 Hours of the Glen on Sunday, June 25. Against a picturesque natural backdrop, 57 vehicles from five classes will be battling for a spot on the podium in "The Glen".

The upcoming race in the state of New York marks roughly half of the planned races for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Currently, Porsche is on the second place of the manufacturer championship, while team for the #6 vehicle of the Porsche Penske Motorsport team is currently holding the first spot in the team championship – the drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy are in the lead of the driver's championship. This lead in points is not deciding yet: Just one race can decide if one of the other teams will regain a top spot in the championships.

 

For the JDC-Miller MotorSports Team, the race in Northeastern USA will be the second one with their yellow Porsche 963 customer vehicle in the GTP class. Meanwhile, in the GTD Pro and GTD categories, four customer racing teams will be participating with their Porsche 911 GT3 R.

 

Like in every other race, the upcoming qualifying on the day before the race is considered to be a way to increase the chances for a good finish. In the past few races, the Porsche Penske Motorsport Team managed to drive from poleposition with the Porsche 963 #7 in Laguna Seca. Still, the factory team won multiple podium placements, including the first spot with the number six in Long Beach. Beside driving skills, team strategy and the events of the race, the track itself is a deciding factor.

Watkins Glen International.

The Watkins Glen International racetrack.

The first turn follows shortly after the start-finish straight and already offers the possibility to pass the competition. So fans can expect the first battles directly after the start. The following section of the track offers little reprieve: the short straight mainly helps drivers prepare their own vehicle for the next passage and they will enter the Esses of Watkins Glen in high gear. The Esses rise slightly and lead directly into the fastest section of the track: the Back Straight.

 

In the first years of the racetrack, the Back Straight was completely without chicanes, but the increasing speed of race vehicles made the introduction of the Inner Loop (also called Bus Stop) ahead of the fifth turn necessary. The fifth turn itself – Outer Loop or Carousel – is a long right turn with little breathing room, but high speeds. After that, participants head downhill to the most distinctive track section: the Boot.

 

The sixth curve, depicting the ankle of the boot, turns left into a short straight that ends in the Toe – the tip of the boot. From here, its a short ascent in the curve and drivers can rebuild speed in the following straight just before braking sharply ahead of turn eight. After the following left turn, the track merges back into the NASCAR track and onward into the last two turns. The long-stretched left-right combination leads directly onto the start-finish straight.

I like the track. It’s wonderfully fast and offers a lot of grip. It’s even more fun with a prototype.

Matt CampbellDriver Porsche 963 #7
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