Mazda delivers on its 2021 promise at the Glen
IMSA SPORTSCAR WATKINS GLEN (USA) 27 JUNE
Mazda Motorsports has been knocking on the door of Victory Lane this season in the IMSA Sportscar Championship. In last Sunday’s traditional Six Hours of Watkins Glen, back on the schedule after skipping a year due to the pandemic, the team made good on its promise by claiming a narrow and hard-earned triumph through the combined efforts of Oliver Jarvis, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito.
The trio had to start their Mazda
RT24-P at the back of the seven-car DPI field following a change of engine overnight. There was more frustration during the early stages when Jarvis found himself trapped behind Tristan Vautier’s
Jdc-miller Motorsports Cadillac.
The team’s first slice of good fortune came after 19 laps when a slower car forced Vautier off-line, enabling Jarvis to sweep past. All three drivers then worked hard to get back into contention. They took the lead for the first time following pitstops during the final full-course caution with an hour remaining after the decision was made to change only one tyre – the right-front, which had caused concerns earlier on. To change any more would have negated the time saved by the short fuel fill, due to the Mazda having been one of the final cars to take on service during the previous pitstop sequence. The strategy enabled Tincknell to jump from third to first ahead of former Mazda team-mate Olivier Pla, whose Meyer-shank Acura took on fresh left-side tyres only, and the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac of Kevin Magnussen.
The race went green again with 38 minutes remaining, which meant the leaders needed to eke out their fuel in order to reach the finish without the need for an extra stop. And then the final stroke of good fortune came with the timing of the white flag signifying one lap remaining before time expired. If Tincknell had crossed the line just a few seconds earlier, he would have been obliged to complete one extra lap of the 3.4-mile venue. That likely would have been one too many, because he ground to a halt, out of fuel, on his cool-down lap.
Pla and Dane Cameron had to be content with second after leading most of the 200-lap race, while pole-winners Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, joined for the long-distance event by Alexander Rossi, maintained their slender championship lead with a third-placed finish in their Wayne Taylor Racing Acura.
All five classes kept the crowd entertained, with the Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia/ Jordan Taylor winning GTLM by less than a second from the BMW M8 GTE of John Edwards/jesse Krohn/augusto Farfus.
Steven Thomas/tristan Nunez/thomas Merrill won LMP2 by just over 1s in their WIN Autosport ORECA-GIBSON, while Felipe Fraga/gar Robinson/scott Andrews (Riley Motorsports Ligier JSP320) took the LMP3 spoils by 1.635s.
The competition was similarly close in GTD, although Bill Auberlen combined with Robby Foley and Aidan Read to complete another accomplished win for the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 team.