One of IMSA’s double-duty drivers is Michael Valiante, competing in both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
This past weekend, Valiante concentrated on his latter role. He won his first Street Tuner (ST) race of the season, co-driving HART’s No. 93 Honda Civic Si with Chad Gilsinger in the Grand Prix of Kansas.
It will be back to double-duty at Watkins Glen International. He will join Richard Westbrook in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP in the Prototype class of the TUDOR Championship in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday, June 29, in addition to competing in Saturday’s Continental Tire Challenge race.
Valiante’s past experience includes three seasons in Formula Atlantic, winning six races and finishing second in the 2002 and third in the 2003 championship. He also has two career Champ Car starts, with his best finish 11th for Dale Coyne Racing in 2005. The 34-year-old native of Vancouver, British Columbia also won two races in in GRAND-AM Rolex Series DP competition.
Why did you call Saturday one of your toughest victories?
“Coming into the weekend we were hoping for a podium. The team did a great job putting me in position to win at the end with a great pit stop. Chad (Gilsinger) did a great first stint as well. I was able to get a great restart and gap some of the other cars, because I knew some of the Porsches would be strong at the end. They started reeling me in and catching me as my tires went away. With about 20 minutes to go, I knew we had a chance if we could deal with (GS) traffic as we were being lapped. Somehow, we were able to come away with the win.”
Were you thinking at all about last year’s race, when you took the checkered flag first, only to be penalized for manipulating the final restart? 
“Not at the end, because I was under a lot of pressure from the Sahlen’s car. We had a little bit of contact. I turned into [Wayne Nonnamaker]. I didn’t see him after the race, so I’ve got to apologize for that. It’s a bit bittersweet, because we won here last year and had it taken away. So it’s great to come back here and win.”
How are you enjoying the Prototype competition in the new TUDOR Championship?
“I’m really happy to be paired up with Richard Westbrook at Spirit of Daytona. We almost won at Detroit, and we were almost in the same position at [Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca], before we had to serve a penalty. At Long Beach, we had some contact that took away a podium position as well. So it’s been going really well in Prototypes. The team’s really gelling, and I think we’re in a strong position for the rest of the year.” 
What kind of race do you expect for Watkins Glen in the Sahlen’s Six Hours?
“I think the P2 cars will have a little bit of an edge there, but it’s a long race and anything can happen.”
With two weekends off, do you have any plans of relaxing before Watkins Glen?
“I’m flying home tonight. I’m in the gym three days a week, and cycling on the other days to get in shape. I’m working on getting physically ready for the Six Hours. It’s going to be really physically demanding. We’re going with two drivers, which will be tough because that race is extremely difficult, but I think we can do it.”