2015 Tudor USCC: Six Hours of Watkins Glen preview
2015 24 Hours of Le Mans winners, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber will return to competitive action this weekend for the first time since their historic victory as the Tudor United SportsCar Championship heads to upstate New York for the Six Hours of Watkins Glen.
The famous US track marks the first time since Laguna Seca at the start of May that the USCC’s GTLM class competitors have been in action, a race that both Tandy and Bamber missed due to their Porsche LMP1 commitments.
Now though, the Anglo-Kiwi duo’s time in the 919 Hybrid is over (for now) and their focus turns back to piloting Porsche North America Racing’s pair of Porsche 911 RSRs as Weissach’s US factory squad hopes to kickstart its USCC title challenge.
The 2015 Tudor series has so far been dominated by the no. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia however, after a huge accident in qualifying at Le Mans, the championship leaders have been forced to recall last year’s car from customer team, Larbre Competition.
That car also suffered damage at La Sarthe though the Pratt & Miller-run factory team was able to repair any problems during the short gap between Le Mans and Watkins Glen this weekend.
All this will hearten the works Porsche squad who secured their first podium of 2015 last time out at Laguna Seca when Patrick Pilet and Michael Christensen finished third in the no. 911 Porsche 911 RSR.
Last season Tandy (who will team up with Pilet in the no. 911 car) finished fifth at Watkins Glen alongside the Frenchman and Richard Lietz, behind the two Corvettes and the SRT Vipers.
However, with the Dodge Vipers out the way this season, and buoyed by his excellent performance at Le Mans, Tandy and Pilet could well find themselves embroiled in the battle for victory during Sunday’s six-hour race around the fast 3.40-mile track (the former host of the US Grand Prix).
Bamber meanwhile will be separated from his Le Mans teammate, returning to his regular gig alongside Jörg Bergmeister in the no. 912 entry, which currently languishes in eight place in the teams’ standings after a difficult start to the season.
The New Zealander has proven his speed at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR before, helping the no. 912 car to finish second at last year’s Petit Le Mans, his first event as a factory Porsche racer.
Bergmeister was unlucky not to help his no. 92 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR crew to a podium finish at Le Mans two weeks ago after a number of problems in the closing hours stymied the charge of the German and his teammates, Christensen and Lietz.
Track action kicks off today with two practice sessions before GTLM qualifying takes place on Saturday at 4:05pm ET. The Six Hours of Watkins Glen is waved away at 10:10am local time on Sunday.
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