HD RADIO EVENT PREVIEW: WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
After a wait of close to two months, the IMSA season kicks off a run of three races in four weeks with a stop at the Watkins Glen International Circuit. The 3.4 Mile 11 turn 'Boot' layout will be a major test for CJWR's Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and GT3 Cup Challenge USA teams.
The team from Austin, Texas arrives in Upstate New York in a strong Championship position. The #33 Miller/Bechtolsheimer pairing sit in second place just six points off the lead while the Ward/Faulkner #35 car is six points further back in P6. With two ST Class wins in four seasons and both GS cars on the podium last year, there is plenty of reason for optimism.
Marc Miller has bitter sweet memories of the 2016 event. An errant ST car severely baulked the #33 Cayman on it's way to almost certain victory. "Last year we had a car strong enough to win and I hope that all the work the CJ Wilson crew has done since our last race gives us the same opportunity as last year. On a separate note I hope that lapped traffic does not play a negative role in our race results either."
The fact that the layout of the track has barely changed, since its days as the home of the US Grand Prix, appeals to avid historic racer, Till Bechtolsheimer. So much so that The Glen has quickly become the US venue he looks forward to most. "After a bit of break since COTA, I’m eager to get back behind the wheel and can’t wait to get back to my favorite US circuit!"
For Irishman, Damien Faulkner, every opportunity to compete here is grasped with both hands. "I always arrive at Watkins Glen with a smile. It’s one of the most exciting and challenging circuits anywhere in the world. Proof of that is its deep rooted and world class history. This is also a great track for CJ Wilson Racing and so I’m keen to get down to business with my team mate Russell. It’s a new track for him, but he’s been hard at it on the simulator. Marc and Till will have great data too from last season. So, the challenge for me now, is to leave with a smile."
The challenge for team owner, CJ Wilson is to get to grips with The Glen's unforgiving layout as quickly as possible. "It’s a new track for me so I have to break it down and gain enough knowledge to be fast by Race 2," explained the former MLB All-Star. He went on to explain how his recent European trip may help this weekend. "I haven’t had a lot of seat time in the GT3 Cup car since the last race at CoTA but I have been driving LMP3 cars in Europe and some of the driver development stuff should cross over and give me a better chance to succeed right out of the gate."
As a team owner he views the weekends events with some level of confidence and anticipation. "We have had a lot of success here as a team and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Marc, Till, Russell and Damien can do together."
Round 7 of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama takes place on Friday, June 30th at 6pm EST. The Green Flag for Round 8 of the Series will drop at 10:30 am EST.
Round 4 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge takes place on Saturday, July 1st at 2:25 pm EST.
You can follow all races live via the IMSA App or via IMSA.com. You can also get Lap-by-Lap updates via Twitter @cjwilsonracing.