Honda Ligier Leads Both Sahlen's Six Hours Practice Sessions
Friday, July 1, 2016

Finding the repaved 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International to their liking in Friday’s opening practice, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors unofficially bettered all four class records in preparation for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

Olivier Pla posted the fastest time of the day, running 1:36.155 (127.2 mph) in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Curb Records/AERO Honda Ligier JS P2. Co-driver Ozz Negri led the opening session with a lap of 1:36.705 (126.5 mph). John Pew will complete the team’s driver lineup. Both laps bettered the WeatherTech Championship record of 1:37.902 (125.023 mph), set in 2014 in a Nissan Morgan.

“As soon as I did the track walk with John and Ozz yesterday, I knew I was going to love the track,” Pla said. “It’s a really fast track, and I love tracks with fast corners. You can really feel the G forces in your neck. It makes it fun to drive. We’ll just keep pushing hard. The race will be very tough so we’ll have to be good on strategy and stay out of trouble and if we do that, I think we’ll be good.”
 
Joey Hand, recent GTE Pro class winner in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was fastest in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class with a lap of 1:43.309 (118.4 mph) in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT co-driven by Dirk Mueller. Second was teammate Richard Westbrook, 1:43.377 (118.4 mph) in the No. 67 Ford GT co-driven by Ryan Briscoe.

Defending Sahlen’s Six Hour Prototype Challenge (PC) winner Renger van de Zande led his class with a lap of 1:38.582 (124.1 mph) in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09 co-driven by Alex Popow. Colin Braun was second in the No. 54 CORE autosport Flex Box/Composite Resources ORECA co-driven by Jon Bennett and Mark Wilkins, 1:38.619 (124.1 mph).

Stevenson Motorsports Audis ran 1-2 in GT Daytona (GTD). Robin Liddell clocked the best lap of the day in the opening session, 1:46.147 (115.3 mph) in the No. 6 Stevenson Auto Group Audi R8 LMS GT3 co-driven by Andrew Davis. Lawson Aschenbach led the afternoon session in the team’s No. 9 entry co-driven by Matt Bell, running 1:46.259 (115.1 mph).

NOTEBOOK

  • Richard Westbrook is seeking his third consecutive victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. The driver of the No. 67 Ford GT in the GTLM class was the overall winner here in both 2014 and 2015, driving the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP.

“This has always been a good track for me,” said Westbrook. “It has a nice rhythm, nice flow, and a lot of history. Also the six-hour format makes for great endurance racing. Everyone on the team has had a little more spring in their step after Laguna (Westbrook and co-driver Ryan Briscoe gave the new Ford GT its first victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May). The points table was not very good looking after Long Beach. After that victory, we were confident going over to Le Mans – where we had two podium finishes – and now we’re looking forward to the remainder of the season.”

The Continental Tire 150 takes the green flag at 12:25 p.m. for two and a half hours of racing. The event will be streamed live on the FOX Sports GO app and IMSA.tv. It will be followed by WeatherTech Championship qualifying for the Sahlen’s Six Hours, beginning at 3:40 p.m. ET on IMSA.tv.

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