Mazda mimics the original Can-Am
The very first weekend I ever spent at Watkins Glen featured the original Can-Am. Mark Donohue was driving the Sunoco Porsche 917-30. He crushed the competition that day. The 2019 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen was pretty much like that too. Only it was Mazda Motorsports that crushed the competition this time.
Mazda’s RT-24P IMSA DPi finally broke through after 2.5 years of frustration to dominate the event, The #77 also took pole position driven by Oliver Jarvis with a new IMSA track record. The #55 Mazda qualified third behind one of the Penske-run Acuras.
Jarvis promptly took the lead at the start only for mayhem to break out behind the leaders. Going into the esses on the first lap, the #4 Corvette was hit by one of the factory Porsche 911s. The Corvette hit the right guardrail and bounded across the track into the left guardrail. The wrecked car was out on the spot; driver Tommy Milner sustained a hand injury. In the smoke of the crash, the unsighted Wynn’s Mercedes of Ben Keating hit the Corvette and was out on the spot as well, causing a pace car interlude.
Just one lap later, the Whelen Cadillac cut a tire and went into a sand trap, firmly stuck. Another pace car came out, but only two more cautions slowed the pace of the race after that.
It gets better from there
Mazda then proceeded to dominate the race, the two team cars often running 1-2. They led virtually the whole race; Olivier Pla capped it all by taking fastest lap just ticks slower than the pole time of Jarvis. The Acura of Juan Montoya and Dane Cameron kept it close in the final hour, Montoya briefly taking the lead. But the Mazdas were not to be denied, taking their first win in the IMSA DPi era. Acura settled for 3rd and 5th; the six Cadillacs were never in the hunt for the win. The PR1 Oreca took the win in LMP2, 20 laps over the other LMP2 Oreca of Performance Tech Racing.
Things were quite different in GTLM, with all 8 of the cars in the class running right behind each other for much of the race. In the end, Porsche took the win in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen with their #911 car just .5 seconds over the remaining #3 Corvette. The two Ford GTs were second and third followed by the #24 BMW M8 and the other factory Porsche 911.
Similarly, the GTD class was close all the way, the pink and black Mike Shank #86 Acura NSX taking the win over the Turner Motorsports BMW M6 by just .6 seconds. Third was the Weathertech Ferrari 488 followed by the other Acura NSX #57 in fourth driven by the all-female crew of Legge/Nielson/Figueiredo.
For the first time, I tried one of the race sponsor’s hot dogs on Saturday, spurred on by the $1 price. Three more that day made me very happy. These are some of the best hot dogs I’ve ever eaten, completely burp-free! That from a long-time New York City resident who’s eaten his share of great New York hot dogs. The hot dogs were sold out on Sunday by 1PM. I guess everyone else found out the same thing.
See below for plenty of photos from the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend.
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