BMW Returns To WeatherTech Championship Victory Lane At Watkins Glen
Sunday, July 2, 2017

BMW returned to victory lane in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition Sunday in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Alexander Sims held off the Ford GT of Richard Westbrook over the course of a final 25-minute shootout to win the prestigious endurance race in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 alongside co-driver Bill Auberlen by 4.416 seconds.

It was BMW’s first win in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class since Circuit of The Americas in 2015 and the first win for the M6 GTLM in IMSA competition.

“We finally get the win we’ve been hunting for with this M6 GTLM since it came out last year,” said Auberlen, who scored his 56th career victory, putting him four wins behind Scott Pruett as the winningest driver in North American endurance sports racing history. “You don’t win championships when you start off high and go down. We started down and now we’re climbing back up. Those are the ways you win championships.”

BMW also won the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup round. The Patrón Endurance Cup encompasses the four endurance races on the WeatherTech Championship schedule: the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans (Oct. 7).

The runner-up finish for the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Westbrook and co-driver Ryan Briscoe tied the team’s best result of the season. The team also was the recipient of the DEKRA Green Challenge for having the “cleanest, fastest and most efficient car” on the day.

As is often the case in the GTLM class, the race was wide open with seven of the eight cars in the class leading at least one lap. Three different manufacturers finished on the podium with the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen rounding out the top-three to extend its points lead in the class.

Lally, Legge Score Watkins Glen Win, Second Consecutive Acura Triumph

In a role reversal from the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen one year ago, Andy Lally held off Alessandro Balzan in the closing minutes at Watkins Glen to pick up the second consecutive GT Daytona (GTD) class victory for Acura and co-driver Katherine Legge in the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3.

 

Lally beat the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Balzan to the stripe by 0.592 seconds in the victory. The win followed up Acura’s historic first worldwide win for the NSX GT3 one race ago at Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

“Last year, I got on the bumper of Balzan and he did a great job holding me off,” said Lally. “When I heard he got around [Jeroen] Bleekemolen right there at the end, I knew the pressure was coming on. That’s when you take a little extra in the bus stops, and you start putting it on a little deeper into each corner. It gets a little crazy.”

Balzan was joined by co-drivers Christina Nielsen and Matteo Cressoni in the runner-up effort. It was the third consecutive second-place finish for Balzan and Nielsen and the duo’s fourth in the last five races. The Scuderia Corsa team did, however, win the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup round – which awarded points at the halfway mark and the finish – by virtue of running second at the end of both segments.

“It’s great to lead the championship and to lead the Patrón Endurance Cup,” said Balzan. “Scuderia Corsa gave me a perfect car, the Ferrari 488 GT3 was working really great throughout my entire stint.”

Five different manufacturers made up the top-five spots in the class with the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Justin Marks and Jens Klingmann rounding out the podium.

The No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Cooper MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette and Shane Van Gisbergen, and No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F of Robert Alon, Jack Hawksworth and Austin Cindric also finished in the top-five.

The next WeatherTech Championship race is next weekend’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, July 9. The race can be seen live flag-to-flag on FS1 beginning at noon ET.

Results for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen are available at Results.IMSA.com.

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