The GTPs star at Watkins Glen
Porsche Penske came from behind in the final minutes to take an apparent win away from RLL BMW in the battle of GTPs at the 2023 Sahlen’s IMSA 6 Hour Race at Watkins Glen. But BMW was awarded the win after the Porsche was assessed a penalty in post-race inspection. I imagine Mr. Penske was not happy.
Traffic was heavy in the race with a huge 57 car entry for the race and would play a large part throughout the race.
The first hour of the race was heavy on yellow flags beginning at the first turn of the first lap. One of the BMW GTPs spun on cold tires and wrecked. It created a quite dangerous issue at the split start as the GTD classes came to the green flag. A yellow should have been thrown. Green was waved anyway and the sitting duck BMW GTP was barely missed by the full field of GTs. More yellows followed as many drivers lost it trying to win in the opening minutes of a long race.
Rain and more rain was predicted for the weekend and it was all many could talk about. The rain happened briefly on Friday and Saturday. Thunderstorms were predicted for Sunday but that never happened. It was hot and humid in any case.
A huge crowd turned up for the race and parking in the infield was tight. Interest in the starring GTP cars was huge as well. It was hard to get near the various paddock setups holding the GTPs. The paddock itself was stretched far and wide. It held not only the 57 Weathertech cars but also the Porsche Cup, Miata Cup and Lamborghini Challenge race cars as well.
So how do the new GTPs look? The Porsche Penskes cannot be told apart when on track. The JDC Porsche looks much better in bright yellow that shows off the lovely lines of the car far better than Penske does.
The BMW wild colors are great when the car is not moving. When moving it is a mishmosh of color that does nothing for BMW.
The Ganassi Cadillac looks fast even when standing still. Almost the same can be said about the Whelen car.
The Wayne Taylor Acuras look great in black and chrome blue. The MSR car can be best described as “meh”.
It was close quarters all the way. Five classes of cars with varying degrees of speed and driver ability made for traffic on every lap. The prototypes had to avoid the GTs. GTPs had to avoid the other prototypes. It seemed each competitor wanted to take out others in their class. This should be greatly reduced as IMSA eliminates the P3 class for 2024 due to even more GTPs, P2s and GTDs join the party.
I could go on and on about the event but you can read all about that elsewhere. The cars are the stars so I’ll give you plenty to admire below.