28 Jun The Continental 240 at The Glen: Preview
The Winward/HTP Motorsport season changes gear this week at Watkins Glen International in picturesque Upstate New York. The first three rounds of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge spanned a three month period through the Winter and Spring months but now the Houston based team will compete in the same number of races in just four weeks in what could prove to be a pivotal stage of the season.
The 3.4 Mile Grand Prix course at the former home of the United States Grand Prix will host the fourth round of this ultra-competitive championship for GT4 machinery. Saturday’s race will be the second four-hour race of the season which will provide an extra level of strategy and intensity, particularly as ambient temperatures are expected to reach over 90 degrees with track temperatures peaking at well over 100 degrees providing the toughest of tests for drivers, crew and of course those Continental race tires.It is an important race for both Winward/HTP Motorsport AMG GT4 squads. For the #57 Sonic Tools team, the endurance race format offers drivers Bryce Ward and Indy Dontje an opportunity to reduce the 19 point gap to the Championship leaders and pick up the mantle as the leading AMG squad in the category.“I’m looking forward for my first time at Watkins Glen,” explained Dutchman, Indy Dontje.“I’ve heard the track is awesome to drive and has really quick sections so this will suit our car quiet well,” he continued. The longer format should also extend Dontje’s time in the car and increase the team’s chances of yet another top six finish. “Like Daytona, it’s a long race and I’m looking forward to having longer stints together with Bryce because this suits our team/line-up much better.” Despite his unfamiliarity with the challenges of ‘The Glen’, the 25 year old from Alkmaar in the Netherlands has been hard at work. “I have already been in the simulator and I will do even more to maximize my preparation.”
For Dontje’s co-driver and team boss, Bryce Ward, Watkins Glen is a whole new experience. “I have not competed at Watkins Glen but the track looks great and I am looking forward to the race. Unfortunately there is no promoter test day before the race so practice time will be at a premium for this race weekend.”The #33 Techemet duo of Russell Ward and Damien Faulkner have been dogged by ill luck so far this year but they are looking to build on a solid performance and and a fifth place finish at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.
“Watkins Glen is one of the most iconic tracks in America. It is flowing and smooth, with some decent passing opportunities. All of this make it a great place to race,” outlined second year driver, Russell Ward. Like his teammate Dontje, Ward has been testing virtually, putting in many laps on the team’s race shop sim-rig. “Aside from being there, the simulator is the best place to train. If you practice enough, it can save you a great deal of time in the initial sessions.”For the experienced pro, Damien Faulkner, Watkins Glen is a long-time favorite. “This is an iconic track with shed loads of history. Faulkner went on to explain how “it’s undulating and flowing nature is rare and I’m reminded of the Brands Hatch GP layout when I drive it.” The Irishman is keen to add a win at this legendary road course to his resume “It is really challenging circuit for drivers and one I’ve yet to win on. I’m truly counting down the days to our race.”
Round 4 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Continental Tire 240 at the Glen, takes place on June 30th at 1:55pm EST. You can also get session-by-session updates from the Official Winward Racing Twitter and Instagram accounts at https://twitter.com/