WG lede

WG ledeThe WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race weekend at New York's Watkins Glen International gets underway on Friday. 

Be sure to follow @RACERmag and @MarshallPruett for regular updates on Twitter, and for photos, videos, session reports and feature stories.

IMSA RADIO: Click Here
ENTRY LIST: Click Here
TICKETS: Click Here
WEATHER: Click Here


Friday, July 1 (all times Eastern)
11:25 a.m. - 12:25 p.m., Free Practice 1
3:20 - 4:20 p.m., Free Practice 2

Saturday, July 2
10:15 - 11:15 a.m., Free Practice 3
3:40 - 5:10 p.m., Qualifying

Sunday, July 3
8:00 - 8:20 a.m., Warm-up
10:10 a.m. - 4:10 p.m., Race – Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen for the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship


Watkins Glen Social Tile Final copy



The second and final long break of the season is behind us as an unforgettable 24 Hours of Le Mans fades from daily discussions and IMSA’s triumphant teams – along with those who left France without podium visits – descend on Watkins Glen.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing and Risi Competizione locked out the GTE-Pro top three at Le Mans and are expected to resume their slugfest during the six-hour race on Sunday. Michael Shank Racing survived its first Le Mans visit and recorded a quality result in LMP2; WeatherTech Racing was treated with minimal respect by the event’s sanctioning body, but should find more respect – and a better chance at earning a quality finish – in its full-time home.

Scuderia Corsa won GTE-Am with most of its 2015 drivers, and will resume its GT Daytona campaign with Jeff Segal, who bridges 2015, the Le Mans win and Watkins Glen as teammate to Le Mans returnee Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan.

After the deletion of the second Change Racing Lamborghini from the entry list, 41 cars are expected to fill the grid for the third round of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, including the team whose name is shared with the four-round championship-within-a-championship. Altogether, Watkins Glen should be a celebration of all that’s good about long-haul sports car racing.


Track records in all four WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes will be shattered if dry weather holds during qualifying. The recent repaving at Watkins glen has drawn rave reviews and cartoonish cornering speeds as sports cars, Indy cars, and stock cars have dipped many seconds below the best laps turned in 2015.


French alcohol advertising laws turn the Ed Brown- and Scott Sharp-owned Tequila Patron ESM team into Extreme Speed Motorsports for the 24 Hour, and with the team back on American soil, and using the same Ligier JS P2 chassis that propelled the team to big wins at Daytona and Sebring, the program is looking for its third consecutive TPNAEC win this year.

With the grippy new track surface and the ability to use more lines to avoid delays behind slower cars, Watkins Glen could be a P2 party, and ESM would love nothing more than to celebrate with its product in Victory Lane.


maz1ESM will have Shank’s team to contend with and, as the field saw at the last natural terrain road course in Monterey, the pair of Mazda Prototypes to deal with over six hours. Can the Mazdas, dressed in their splendid throwback and throwforward liveries, make it to the finish line without interruption? If so, the rest of the Prototype class could be fighting over the last position on the podium. Shank, the master strategist, and Mazda, with its super fast cars, will keep ESM and the strong field of Corvette DPs honest. Those Corvettes have claimed the last three overall wins at Watkins Glen, and they should never be discounted among the fragile P2s.

When it comes to the overall win, Sunday will likely prove to be a contest of speed and survival, and in the other three classes, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona should produce its usual insanity. Count on GTLM and GTD to vie for the best race from start to finish; IMSA’s GT classes are the envy of every endurance series, and PC, despite having the lowest car count in the event, has generated some high-quality racing at most rounds. That’s the story of IMSA 2016: Pick a class – any class – to follow and you won’t be disappointed.


orlando unitedThe Florida-based IMSA organization has its first chance to honor and support the 49 people who were murdered at an Orlando night club on June 12 between the Detroit and Watkins Glen rounds.

IMSA launched a new initiative on Thursday because the killings “occurred just 50 miles from IMSA’s headquarters in Daytona Beach. As a show of support for the victims and those affected by the tragedy, IMSA has commissioned #OrlandoUnited decals that are available to all teams participating at Watkins Glen to carry on their race cars.”

IMSA CEO Ed Bennett said, “As Central Floridians, this horrible tragedy hit very close to home. This weekend, we felt it would be appropriate to pay tribute to the victims and show our support to the survivors in our own way by making these decals available to our race teams. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with everybody affected.”

You can join IMSA in donating to the fund to help the victims of the massacre.

power celebrates RA IMS PhotoThe maniacal look that defined Will Power's time with Team Penske through the 2014 season is back. With an old-school stomping on Sunday by Power in Road America, two wins on the trot, and a sharp launch up the championships standings from seventh to third, IndyCar's speed demon has put a rocky start to bed at the most opportune time.

The 2014 series champ has his sights set on knocking down the rest of the field with seven races left to run, and it has become a legitimate ambition to pursue. Breaking a yearlong winless streak at Detroit was awesome for Power on a personal level, but it was little more than a feel-good story in the greater context of a 16-race championship.

But with a follow-up win at Road America and a bunch of tracks coming up that are a perfect fit for Power to continue his midseason resurgence, there's every reason to believe the Australian is capable of adding more victories on the trail to Sonoma's season finale.

If Power wants to add a second title to a prolific list of open-wheel accomplishments, it will have to come at the expense of teammates Helio Castroneves and points leader Simon Pagenaud, and some other serious talent.

Power RA IMS"I've just been holding on and doing what I could to start the season, and now it's starting to become competitive," Power told RACER. "You look at that second back to fifth or sixth [in points] is really tight. All these guys that are in those positions keep having good days or horrible days; no one's having a run like Simon had earlier in the season.

"Now's the time to be the guy to have that type of run. At the end of the day, you have to keep finishing ahead of the guy that has the most points. That's it. It's the only way you're going to win it. We need to knuckle down and do our thing."

Power's confidence took quite a few hits in the opening stages of the 2016 championship as physical maladies sapped his stamina, and with a crash in practice at St. Petersburg, he claimed zero points to open his championship point bank account. The restoration of his physical fitness has, as Detroit and Road America proved, been interwoven with a sharp rise in competitiveness.

But as Power reveals, getting to that point of scoring back-to-back wins only came after digging out of a rather deep hole – one that included questions of whether retirement could be a necessity.

"The thing that was missing, the thing that was frustrating me the most, is I couldn't use my ability and I couldn't do anything about it," he said of the food allergies and inner ear infection that prevented fitness training. "I just didn't have the energy; I couldn't do it. There's nothing worse ... is this it? Am I going to stop racing if I can't get my health in order? I finally got on top of it and feel somewhat normal.

"When I was feeling bad, I would always say, if I'm feeling good, I know I can win races, I know I can get poles, and I know I can win races. I've just got to feel all right; I've got to have energy. I know what I can do; I've [won] 27 times. It's never any doubt what I can do in my mind."

Iowa, Toronto, Mid-Ohio, Pocono, Texas, Watkins Glen ... Sonoma; Power has a schedule in front of him that could propel his No. 12 Chevy into the middle of the title fight, and he knows it.

"It will be interesting to see what can happen," he said before sending a gentle message to those that stand in his way. "Leads can dwindle pretty quickly."

Updated F1 halo design, Ferrari Austrian GP 2016

Ferrari's updated Formula 1 cockpit protection device will undergo further evaluation at Silverstone next week following a successful test conducted in Austria.

Ferrari conducted static tests of the system dubbed 'halo 2' at the Red Bull Ring on Thursday afternoon, primarily focused on driver extrication.

Related Stories

{loadposition legends}

Autosport understands no difficulties were encountered, with timing in terms of a driver being able to remove himself from the cockpit of the car of obvious importance should he be involved in an incident.

Ferrari was assisted in the exercise by a handful of Austrian GP marshals.

The device has been remodelled since its debut in pre-season testing at Barcelona when Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both conducted an installation lap on successive days.

Ferrari has modified the halo since then, with it now made of titanium, making it lighter but just as robust, and also altering the design of the structure.

Ferrari will again run an install lap with the halo attached at the start of the first practice session for the race in Austria, with Vettel at the wheel.

However, as part of an ongoing process in terms of development, further testing is planned for the British Grand Prix weekend.

That will follow the latest Technical Regulation Meeting next week, with the halo prominent on the agenda.

Further improvements are still required and another update – effectively 'halo 3' – is planned prior to its introduction on all cars for 2017, with the FIA expected to give the green light at some point before the summer break.

Originally on

F4The United States will join the rest of the world this weekend when the Formula 4 United States Championship powered by Honda makes its debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

A junior open-wheel racing series that helps young drivers make the step up from karting, the F4 U.S. Championship becomes the world's 12th F4 series supported by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). Organized and sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, the U.S. series joins championships throughout Europe, Asia, Central America, the Middle East and Oceana.

The F4 U.S. Championship will debut this weekend at Mid-Ohio with practice taking place Friday, a qualifying run and opening race on Saturday and finishing with two additional races Sunday. Seven teams are expected to field 14 drivers for the inaugural weekend.

"We are proud to debut the F4 series in the United States and create the stepping stone for young drivers to achieve their full potential as they move up the motorsports ladder," said Derrick Walker, president and CEO of SCCA Pro Racing. "The F4 U.S. Championship is the only established FIA championship series in the United States and will offer young drivers exciting opportunities moving forward."

SCCA Pro Racing, along with its partners and the FIA, created the F4 U.S. Championship after recognizing the need for an affordable step between karting and Formula 3.

Offering drivers as young as 15 the chance to take their first steps from karting into the world of open-wheel racing, competitors are also offered the unique opportunity to earn points towards an FIA Super License. Once competitor reaches 40 Super License points and becomes at least 18 years old, they can qualify and apply to race for Formula 1.

"Previously junior open-wheel competitors had to travel abroad to seize an opportunity like this," Walker said. "Now, with the development of the F4 U.S. Championship, young talent can grow their brands domestically and choose their paths to pinnacle levels of motorsports."

Starting in 2017, F4 will offer a truly global competition as the champions from each of the 12 worldwide F4 series will compete in a global race. The F4 U.S. Championship is the only domestic junior open-wheel series to offer this opportunity to young drivers.

In addition to serving as a stepping stone from karting to open-wheel racing, SCCA Pro Racing and the FIA have made the F4 U.S. Championship affordable as well. With prices capped at $45,000 for the chassis, including paddle shifters, data acquisition and camera, and Honda engines with a one-year lease at $6,600, teams can affordably get cars on the track.

For more information on the SCCA Pro Racing F4 U.S. Championship, visit

About the SCCA Pro Racing F4 U.S. Championship:
FIA F4 is designed as entry-level open-wheel racing for participants, around a contemporary, modern, cost conscious formula. SCCA Pro Racing and its chosen partners that embrace these ideals and support this vision with appropriate technology and products. The selected F4 powerplant is a production based on the engine currently powering the Honda Civic® Type R® recently launched in Europe, tuned to meet FIA-mandated output of approximately 160 Hp. The engine and the ECU are sealed to provide parity and compliance.

About SCCA Pro Racing:
SCCA Pro Racing Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sports Car Club of America, Inc. -- a 65,000-member organization dedicated to motorsports. SCCA Pro Racing provides full-service organization, operation and sanctioning for numerous professional racing series such as the Pirelli World Challenge and Trans Am®.

Bernie Ecclestone

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is looking at introducing a new prize money structure more focused on performance and would no longer feature bonus payments.

Currently, prize money is split between performance, bonus and heritage payments.

Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes receive bonus payments in return for signing the current bilateral agreement, which runs to 2020.

There is also an additional longstanding payment for Ferrari, plus other fixed prize fund payouts such as a heritage bonus for Williams and negotiated payments for Red Bull and Mercedes.

Speaking to reporters in Austria, Ecclestone said: "It's going to be sorted out in a way where the chunk of money they get on top, they won't get ... well, they'll get it if they win.

"We can't pay the people if they are not winning and what I don't want is to pay people what would effectively be start money."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who had just had a meeting with Ecclestone before the two held an informal briefing, added: "You incentivize to invest and if you invest and if you win you have access to a larger [prize fund]."

Ecclestone believes the new system will be fairer for the smaller teams, who have long complained that the distribution of prize money is unfair.

"At the moment they have no chance with this money that we give them," he said. "But we are going to make sure they are in a position where they do [have a chance] if they perform.

Related Stories

{loadposition legends}
"We sort of look after, if that's the right word, four or five teams [under the current bilateral contracts] because they have had a long-term commitment with us and they signed four or five years ago to stay until 2020.

"So they needed something for doing it."

Wolff suggested the deal Mercedes struck in which it earned its bonus payment for winning two constructors' championships could be a model for what is implemented.

"Maybe the model Mercedes got in 2012 is a base for how it can be in the future," he said. "We got an additional prize fund because we performed. We got a hurdle built in: If you win those championships, you can increase your income."

Ecclestone said he hoped to "get something sorted out this year" with the expectation that the new rules would come into force in 2021.

Should a new structure be introduced before 2020, it would require all the teams to agree.

It appears talks are still only at a very early stage as when asked if he wants to get rid of historic bonus and prize money bonus, Ecclestone said: "Yes. No bonus. Everyone is in the same boat."

But later in the interview, he said: "Let's have a look at it, Ferrari has been with us since F1 started so they should get something for that."

Originally on

Raikkonen, halo, Barcelona

Ferrari will conduct static tests of an updated halo Formula 1 cockpit protection device in the Red Bull Ring's pit lane on Thursday afternoon, ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

The fresh tests include extrication, to see how quickly a driver can remove himself from the cockpit of the car with the device fitted.

Related Stories

{loadposition legends}

Ferrari initially trialled the halo during pre-season testing at Barcelona in February, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen conducting an installation lap apiece.

The halo received mixed reviews and, despite competition since from Red Bull's aeroscreen, has emerged as the preferred option and is set to be on all F1 cars for the 2017 season.

Developed in conjunction with the FIA, and following numerous tests, Ferrari's 'halo 2' is made of titanium and therefore much lighter but just as robust, and is now more refined in terms of its overall structure.

Ferrari has yet to determine whether the device will run on one of its cars for an installation lap during Friday practice.

Autosport understands further improvements are required and that another update – effectively 'halo 3' – will be forthcoming ahead of its planned 2017 introduction.

A further Technical Regulation Meeting is scheduled next week between the Austrian and British GPs, with the halo prominent on the agenda.

After the meeting, the FIA is then due to confirm the mandatory introduction of the system for all cars for 2017.

The aeroscreen is not off the table for 2018 as it is the preferred device of many in the paddock, despite failing FIA tests.

Red Bull, however, has suspended development given it is focusing its resources on the significant technical regulation changes for 2017.

Team principal Christian Horner concedes it has gone "all quiet" on the aeroscreen, adding: "We're waiting for some direction back from the FIA.

"At the moment they've been very quiet, so I think first of all let's hear what they've got to say and then we can act accordingly."

Daniel Ricciardo is hoping the aeroscreen is not scrapped on cost grounds.

"Don't get me wrong, I think the cars will look better without anything," he said. "But again it's not really one for looks. If it's purely for safety then it shouldn't really be won on cost grounds either.

"It still needs to be addressed and attended to, so I'd be disappointed if they shut it down completely."

Originally on

Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Baku F1 2016

Sauber appears to have found a solution to its financial difficulties after paying its Formula 1 staff salaries on time for the first time since January, Autosport has learned.

Cash flow problems meant February, March and April salaries were paid around a week late, while it took nearly a month to put the May salaries through.

Related Stories

{loadposition legends}

But the June salaries were paid on time and it is believed the staff have been told a sustainable solution has been found for the future and that there is reason for optimism.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has been locked in talks for months trying to find financial backing to secure the team's long term future.

It is believed a new investor has been found, which would mean a change of ownership for the team.

Should the deal go through, it is anticipated Kaltenborn will continue in her current role.

The finer details are still being discussed, with talks continuing on Thursday and Kaltenborn expected to arrive in Austria in time for Friday practice.

The news is a boost to the Swiss team, which has been unable to update its car since pre-season testing.

There are upgrades in the pipeline, including a new front and rear wing, and it is hoped these will be introduced in Hungary.

Sauber missed the first in-season test at Barcelona as it had no updates to test.

It has yet to decide whether it will attend the post-British Grand Prix test at Silverstone, with a decision expected to hinge on whether it has new parts to run.

Originally on

surfersIndyCar could make its long-hoped-for return to Surfers Paradise – possibly as early as next year – if an already approved Gold Coast-based consortium can successfully negotiate an agreement for a race, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

"There are ongoing commercial negotiations with the [Queensland Government]," a spokesperson for the consortium told the Bulletin. "We are talking to [Tourism and Events Queensland] and the US-based IndyCars."

The goal is to bring the Verizon IndyCar Series in during an annual weeklong motorsports event. News of the effort comes as the Supercars Championship announced a deal to remain at Surfers Paradise through 2019.

"We want to lift the image, we want to bring the high heels, a sophistication to the city to leverage off the Commonwealth Games," he said.

INDYCAR would not comment on specifics.

"INDYCAR is in the process of investigating potential venues for the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, which includes a number of conversations with international parties interested in hosting an event," INDYCAR said in a statement. "INDYCAR has an extended history at Surfers Paradise and many of its teams and drivers fondly recall the great events and large crowds in Australia. However, at this time, we are not going to comment on specifics as it pertains to the status of any prospective venue."

Approval from Supercars will be needed in order to pull off a weeklong event, the consortium spokesperson said.

"All our concern at the moment is on securing the approval through government to hold the event with IndyCars as the major attraction — 2017 is a possibility, 2018 is more than possible," he said.

The Gold Coast 300 ran at Surfers Paradise from 1991-2008, with Sydney native Ryan Briscoe winning the last race (a non-points race after the CART/IRL merger) for Team Penske. The Bulletin reports the average annual attendance of 252,000 brought in an estimated $761 million (about $565 million U.S.).

A number of issues would need to be resolved, namely that the Gold Coast event's traditional late-October date is more than one month after the last race on the 2016 IndyCar calendar.

Similarly, Supercars now races on a slashed 1.85-mile version of the circuit, down from 2.79 miles, to accommodate a new tram line over what was the southern end of the Champ Car layout.

With recent attempts at non-North American events in Brazil, China and Dubai not coming to fruition, Roger Penske said in March that flyaways don't benefit the series, which is trying to grow its fan base, or its sponsors, most of which are based in the U.S.

"I would like to have 15 or 16 good races," he said. "I don't want to have 18, 19 or 20. I'm not interested in going overseas. I think if we run our series over here we'll be a lot better off. Our sponsors – 95 percent of them – are U.S. domestic companies.

"If we are going to give them the benefit, notoriety and the business-to-business relationships we have to have to maintain these sponsors as we do, it's hard to do it in Abu Dhabi and places like that." contributed to this report. 

Follow Racer

Subscribe to Racer

The RACER Poll

Should Ferrari keep Kimi Raikkonen for next year?
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Video: The Great Teams III Issue

The Great Teams III Issue is on sale now. Click here for more information.

Race Cars For Sale


Great Race Day 9 with Andy Bell.

See more than 50 On Board videos.

Honda Racing / HPD Videos

Acura’s Ryan Eversley swept the Pirelli World Challenge double-header at Road America.