The team element of the endurance race was most evident on Sunday at Watkins Glen International.
A pinpoint fuel strategy, a perfectly executed pit stop and skilful driving from close by Harry Tincknell brought Mazda a repeated victory at the Six Hours of The Glen in Sahlen, two years after Mazda took its first win in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series on the street circuit .
Born in Britain, Tincknell teamed up with compatriot Oliver Jarvis and native Californian Jonathan Bomarito to win the Mazda Motorsports Mazda Daytona Prototype International (DPi) with the number 55 after Tincknell became the leading No60 Acura of Olivier Pla and Dane Cameron had defeated the pits with an hour remaining.
Tincknell held the lead after the restart with 37 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock and navigated the traffic with many laps to beat Pla by just under a second to the finish line.
“It was a fantastic team effort from Mazda and Multimatic all weekend,” said Tincknell. “We didn’t test here and I think we started a bit on the way back into the weekend. We just got better and better all weekend. The race car that we parked for six hours today was, in my opinion, the top spot . ” Runners who gave us a chance.
“But it was a classic team effort. I think all three of us did the job in the car. My goodness, the mechanics and the boys and girls in the stands were just an incredible 30 or 40 minutes into the race, that was the key moment. We only changed one tire and took the lead. “
Tincknell and Jarvis ousted Taylor / Albuquerque in the overall standings, the gap between the teams is now 31 points (1,733 to 1,702) after five of 12 races.
The victorious Mazda lost air conditioning after 10 minutes in the race on a day when temperatures reached well into the 1990s.
“A very special win”
Two years ago, Tincknell and Bomarito teamed up with Pla to win at Watkins Glen. Bomarito joined Mazda teammates Tincknell and Jarvis for this year’s race, bringing Mazda its first straight win since the Sebring 12 Hours in November and sixth overall. Tincknell took his fifth IMSA victory, Jarvis his fourth and Bomarito his eleventh.
Jarvis was part of a second place at the WGI in 2019 in Mazda’s other team car that no longer competes.
“It’s a very special win,” said Jarvis. “It’s my first in the 55th and it’s great to have JB back with us. He brings so much to the team. It’s a nice moment and a nice point in the championship to take this victory.”
Bomarito said, “I love sharing a car with these guys. They are competitors, they are just warriors.”
Fifth place for Johnson team
Pole-seated No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura DPi of Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Alex Rossi finished third.
Felipe Nasr, Mike Conway and Pipo Derani were featured in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac and fourth in the Ally Cadillac Racing Cadillac, which also included seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi and Simon Pagenaud after a drive-through penalty for contact with Kevin Magnussen’s and # 01 car Renger van der Zande in the last lap they shot back one place.
Johnson, who was eliminated from the Cup series last year, is driving the four Michelin Endurance Cup races in the WeatherTech series this season with Ally Cadillac Racing.
“It was an exciting race,” said Johnson. “We had a lot to do. We had some problems with the hot cabin temperatures affecting several different systems on the car. There were some wild moments in traffic for all three drivers. I think Kamui ended up in the wall at some point. But luckily it wasn’t anything big.
“At the end of the race it really came down to the fuel strategy. Unfortunately we were at the end of the row. Since everyone saved fuel and the warnings were dropped, we really couldn’t get a better position.”
Refueling and pit stops were key
The number 60 car took the lead with 2 hours, 30 minutes to go, after the number 31 Cadillac was in the lead after three hours. Cameron and Pla extended their lead to over 14 seconds when LMP2 driver Gabriel Aubry hit the crash barrier at the exit of Turn 1, which led to a warning three minutes before the one-hour mark.
A quick Mazda pit stop led to a change in leadership.
Tincknell did what he could to save fuel while keeping Pla and the five other DPi cars among the 38 in the race.
“I knew it was going to be very tight,” said Tincknell. “I could do enough math in my head to know that I wouldn’t go flat out all the time. Massive teamwork to be able to calculate these numbers really quickly.”
The white flag that signaled the final lap came with 1 minute, 30 seconds on the clock.
“Basically, if Harry had been on the road for four seconds, we would have had to do another lap and probably run out of gas,” said Bomarito. “That’s how precisely they calculate the fuel.”
The car had enough fuel to cover just over half the 3.4 mile distance on the cooldown lap.
“The team calculated it perfectly for the last lap, but they forgot about the last lap,” said Tincknell. “I ran out of fuel at Turn 7, but it was a pretty cool moment that we were all pushed into the pit lane with a completely dry car. That just shows the perfect strategy and the perfect engineering from Multimatic to get us on the line and then the thing just broke. “
Race to the finish
Tincknell was confident he had enough fuel to go full throttle on the final lap when he saw Pla pull up behind him.
In the final laps, both drivers struggled with lap traffic from the four slower vehicle classes that were fighting for victories.
“I’m always very aggressive from FP1 because you don’t know when you will get into situations where you have to make the moves and train somehow, can you leave a bomb behind? Or do you have to look and get it at the exit”, said Tincknell.
“I had the feeling that I had a small advantage in this area. A couple of times I was able to buy a little more fuel with a train and (Pla) was stopped, then I was able to save a little more later in the lap.” Sure, when you come across the finish line and see 10 GTD cars all competing against each other, you think how am I going to get through this and stay far behind? But luckily this time the chips fell in our favor and we’ll get to do it all here next weekend. “
Shortly after Tincknell crossed the finish line, Pla drove next to him and gave him a thumbs up.
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Other class winners
There were four other class winners in the race on Sunday.
- The WIN Autosport Team No. 11 of Tristan Nunez, Steven Thomas and Thomas Merrill took first place in Le Mans Prototype 2.
- Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor’s Corvette Racing Team No. 3 took first place among the GT Le Mans teams.
- No. 74 Riley Motors won the LMP3 class behind drivers Gar Robinson, Scott Andrews and Felipe Fraga.
- The No. 96 Turner Motorsports trio of Bill Auberlin, Robby Foley and Aidan Read won in GT Daytona. Auberlen took his 64th IMSA victory, the most in history.
IMSA back on track Thursday
Mazda announced in February that it would end its DPi program in the WeatherTech SportsCar Series after this year. Mazda has reduced from two teams to one this season.
The automaker will have one more chance of winning the WGI as the series will take place on the track on Thursday and Friday after Toronto’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is unable to do so due to COVID-19 concerns in Ontario this year was to be a host.
The highlight of the two-day event is the WeatherTech 240, which is scheduled for Friday from 6:05 p.m. to 8:50 p.m.
Last year’s IMSA race at the WGI was moved to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta due to the pandemic.
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