(23 June 2021) – Mooresville, NC: Multimatic Motorsports is heading into an intense period of competition with consecutive race weekends in upper New York state. First up is the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, which was the scene of the Mazda RT24-P’s first ever victory in 2019. As the race didn’t take place in 2020, Mazda Motorsports has a title to defend.
The following Friday (2 July) the WeatherTech 240 will take place on the same track, replacing the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park round, cancelled due to the Covid-19 related border restrictions. The Fourth of July “240” race was held at Daytona in 2020 and signaled the restart of racing after the Covid-19 shutdown. As that resulted in an emphatic Mazda 1-2 finish, the team has a second title to defend at Watkins Glen.
The 3.4 mile, 11-turn road course at Watkins Glen is hugely popular with the teams due to the fast, high-grip track. For Harry Tincknell, the event holds some great memories and also marks the return of team mate and fellow 2019 race winner, Jonathan Bomarito.
“The last time we were at Watkins Glen we took the first win for this Mazda programme in a pretty dominant fashion,” said Tincknell. “We were first and third on the grid and then 1-2 in the race. This time around it’s hard to know exactly how we will do but if we judge it on Detroit, I was more or less on the pace in qualifying and in the race there was a podium in our grasp.
“Watkins Glen should suit us better than Detroit,” he continued. “It’s a very high speed, high commitment circuit, which is very high grip as well. I think the RT24-P performs at its best in high grip scenarios and has very strong aerodynamics so we should be playing to our strengths. We know it’s going to be tough; some of our rivals have tested there recently, which we haven’t, and obviously we haven’t been there for two years. It will be great to have ‘JB’ back in the fold. He did a great job at Daytona and Sebring so we’ll be welcoming him back with open arms. Having three drivers means that you have to share the track time a little more in practice in order to get everyone up to speed but it really takes the pressure off in the race. Hot temperatures coupled with a high speed, high grip track is physically very demanding. The pace is going to be furious at the front but hopefully we can go back and do just what we did in 2019.”
Oliver Jarvis was in the #77 Mazda in 2019 and finished in second place. He also took pole position with a lap record time that still stands at Watkins Glen. The Englishman has winning on his mind.
“I can’t wait to get back to Watkins Glen,” said Jarvis. “It’s one of my favourite events and tracks of the year; a really high grip, high commitment circuit. In the past the Mazda has always gone well there and it’s where we got our first win as a team in 2019. It’s great to have a double-header as we can really get into the rhythm of the place. We’ve started well this year and the whole team has been performing exceptionally at every race, providing us with a really good car. I’m looking forward to doing two races in a row and, as good as the start of the season has been, it would be great to go out there and get a victory.”
Larry Holt, Executive Vice President – Multimatic Special Vehicle Operations, said: “Lots of pressure this weekend going back to where the RT24-P winning started. I race engineered the #55 car to the win back in ’19 and it remains a personal highlight for me. We should be good again on the return, some of our competitors have been testing there but I’m confident in our simulator work this week, and correlation is strong, so no stress. The BoP is pretty equitable so, once again, there should be some close racing throughout the whole six hours. We have JB back and that gives us the strongest driver line-up in the field; all we have to do now is execute!!”
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen gets underway on Sunday 27 June at 10:40 EDT / 15:40 BST. The WeatherTech 24 at the Glen is on Friday 2 July at 18:10 EDT / 23:10 BST.
PRIAULX PREPARED FOR HIS RACE DEBUT AT THE GLEN
After an eight-week break, the Porsche Carrera Cup North America bursts back into action at Watkins Glen with two, 45-minute races taking place on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 June.
Sebastian Priaulx leads the championship after the first four races, with a win and three further podiums under his belt. He is under no illusions of the depth of the challenge in the Porsche Carrera Cup and has kept his focus during the break with a strong training programme.
“I’ve been working hard to prepare for this weekend,” said Priaulx. “I’ve been training hard and also spending a lot of time on the simulator. We’ve had two events now and the thing I have learned is that with this format of racing you have to bring your ‘A’ game every time – every race, every lap, every corner. I haven’t raced at Watkins Glen before but I have tested there. It’s an awesome track and I’m expecting it to be tighter racing than ever. I want to maintain my championship lead and I can’t wait to get back into the #15 Kell-Moss Porsche and get stuck in.”
Larry Holt, Executive Vice President – Multimatic Special Vehicle Operations, said: “On top of a busy schedule with the Mazda, the Carrera Cup North America cars are on the card for the first weekend, and I’ll be on the pit wall whenever Seb is on track. Luckily we have the Kelly Moss Racing guys taking care of running him and that removes any car related factors; they’re the best team in the paddock. These races are all down to Seb, and he’s been fully focused on preparing for this weekend during the long layoff. He indisputably has the raw talent, but now needs to fully focus on race craft as there are some highly experienced drivers in the field that will throw every trick in the book at him. That’s why we have him in the series, and I have full confidence he’s going to mature at a rapid rate and continue to win in an incredibly competitive environment.”
The Porsche Carrera Cup North America races get underway at Watkins Glen on Friday 25 June at 13:00 EDT / 18:00 BST and on Saturday 26 June at 09:35 EDT / 14:35 BST.