IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

IMSA WeatherTech: The Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320s rack up their fourth victory and a double at Watkins Glen

1 – 2 July 2021 – Another win for the #74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 that was already victorious last weekend in the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen. Since the start of the season, the team has racked up four victories including the 24 Hours of Daytona and is firmly ensconced in first place in the provisional classification. The team's second car #91 clinched second place and completing the podium was #54 entered by CORE Autosport giving Ligier a triple.  

Like the previous week in the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, the #36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320 driven by Jarett Andretti and Oliver Askew topped the time sheets in free practice on 1st July with a best lap in 1m 59.440s.

In the late afternoon, the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 in the hands of Mateo Llarena and Rasmus Lindh qualified on pole well ahead of #54 run by CORE Autosport and crewed by Jon Bennett and Colin Braun.

Friday 2nd July was race day. After being placed on the wrong side of the grid for the start, the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 was given a drive-through penalty. #36 run by Andretti Autosport, which qualified in third place, hit the front of the field and led for more than half the race. On lap 35, it was passed by the #74 Riley Motorsports JS P320 driven by Gar Robinson and Felipe Fraga.

The event was temporarily red flagged because of the stormy weather and the cars returned to the track 40 minutes before the end of the race. Riley Motorsports decided not to stop at their pit until the chequered flag. But with just one stop for the #74 Ligier JS P320 since the start of the race it was a daring gamble as the tyres were worn. However, the team's strategy paid off and #74 crossed the finishing line in first place, a mere 0,276 seconds in front of it sister car, #91. Thus, it claimed its second consecutive win at Watkins Glen and its fourth of the season.

“We only did one pit stop,” Fraga said. “That put us in front of them because we didn't stop for fuel and tires, of course. But that was a little bad for the tires because they already had one cycle of temperature before the red flag. It's not so good when you go hot, cold and then hot again. At the end of my stint, I was suffering a little bit.”

The Riley Motorsports second JS P320, #91, driven by Jim Cox and Dylan Murry took the chequered flag in second place. Into third came #54 run by CORE Autosport, which set the fastest lap in the race in 1m 39.967s. It was followed by Andretti Autosport's #36, followed in turn by #38 entered by Performance Tech and then Dawson Racing's #84 in the hands of Theodor Olsen and Dominic Cicero.

Riley Motorsports continue to open up their lead in the championship thanks to #74's 1468 points, while #91 is still in third place with 1290 points snapping at the tail of CORE Autosport's #54 with 1372 points.

The next  round of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship will take place between 5 - 8 August on the Road America circuit during the IMSA Sportscar Weekend.

To consult the complete results of the race, CLICK HERE.

To consult the championship classification, CLICK HERE.

Photo credit: Jack Galstad