Barbosa Keeps Cadillac Streak Alive With Victory at The Glen

Joao Barbosa speeds at Watkins Glen in Action Express Cadillac
Photo: Continental Tire (Twitter)

Even though Wayne Taylor Racing’s win streak came to an end at the conclusion of six hours of hard racing at Watkins Glen International, Cadillac’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship success in 2017 continued with a victory by the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Under threat of rain that never materialized, the final three hours of the six-hour race led up to a duel between João Barbosa’s Cadillac and the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA 07 driven by Stephen Simpson.

A yellow flag with 36 minutes remaining set up a late-race restart with 24 minutes to go with Barbosa leading Simpson. The LMP2-spec ORECA got a jump out of the final turn and managed to pull alongside the lead DPi as the green flag waved. Simpson completed the pass as the pair entered Turn 1 and maintained the lead for the next 15 minutes.

Notably, the bright yellow car of Simpson did not take tires for the final stint while trailing Cadillac did, setting up a battle of grip and bravery over the final minutes.

Traffic eventually played a role in the final results as well with Simpson held up more than once by slower cars.

Action Express team celebrates in victory lane at Watkins Glen
Photo: Continental Tire (Twitter)

With nine minutes to go, Barbosa officially reclaimed the lead from Simpson and cruised to the checkered flag with a 1.2-second advantage over second position.

Simpson’s second-placed finish was well clear of the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P which was a further 7.4 seconds back. The podium marks the second consecutive top-three result for Mazda in the prototype ranks.

Olivier Pla, the fastest driver in the fastest car at Watkins Glen, took the checkered flag in the fourth position. The No. 52 Ligier JS P217 fielded by PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports overcame slow refueling throughout the race and a spin after contact with the No. 90 Riley Mk. 30 to capture the top-five result.

The aforementioned No. 90 Visit Florida Racing machine, driven by Renger van der Zande at the finish, completed the top five.

The No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R shared by brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor overcame its first-lap misfortune to finish sixth overall.

The No. 31 Action Express machine went out earlier with a loose wheel and while it was able to get back on track, it could do no better than 16th overall and seventh in class.

Both Nissan Onroak DPi cars fielded by Extreme Speed Motorsports retired form the race as did the No. 70 Mazda.

French, O’Ward Continue Perfect Season With Masson

Performance Tech PC car on track at Watkins Glen
Photo: Continental Tire (Twitter)

The No. 38 ORECA FLM09 fielded by Performance Tech Motorsports and driven by James French, Pato O’Ward and Kyle Masson proved untouchable over the course of the six-hour race at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course.

Despite trading the lead with both of the BAR1 Motorsports cars in the opening hour of the race, the championship-leading car was brought to the checkered flag by Masson with a three-lap advantage over its nearest competitor.

Not surprisingly, the No. 38 ORECA also turned the fastest lap in the class. The 1:37.849, turned on 73 of 195, was nearly a second quicker than the best lap by the No. 20 machine.

Next up for the series is the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario on July 9. The race will air on FS1 at noon EDT.

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