Watkins Glen Thursday Notebook
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Foss, Murillo Racing Hoping to Turn Around Luck at Watkins Glen
At this time one year ago, Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing were riding a streak of three consecutive IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge podiums in the No. 56 Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman for Murillo Racing. The team went on to bring that total up to five, which ultimately proved to be the catalyst for the team’s Street Tuner (ST) class championship in October.

Yet after switching to a Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the Grand Sport (GS) class this year, the luck hasn’t been quite as good. Three races into the season, the best finish for the No. 56 is seventh place at the season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway back in January.

“As this series is, it’s tough, it’s tight, it’s competitive,” said Foss. “We’re just trying to get a little momentum, we’ve been a little slow out of the box this year. We obviously had a situation at Sebring where we had contact with another car that hurt our finishing position. But even at Mid-Ohio we seemed competitive, but still only managed a ninth-place finish. We’re going to have to work hard to get up to that podium, but we’re really hungry for one, it’s been too long.”

But Watkins Glen International may be the place the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG finds its groove. Saturday’s Continental Tire 240 mirrors that of the Daytona race, being four hours in length, rather than the traditional two hours. Additionally, Foss topped the charts in the first Continental Tire Challenge practice on the weekend with a time of one minute, 58.456 (103.329 mph).

“Watkins Glen International has always been one of my favorite race tracks,” said Foss, who reminisced about attending the 1986 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen with his dad. “I immediately fell in love with not only the track, but the surrounding country here. I think it’s one of the most beautiful spots in North America, so I get really excited to come here every year.

“I think as a driver, when you’re passionate about a track, it gives you that little extra edge and push. I feel like I’ve always been able to dig a little deeper here than at some of the other tracks. I’m hoping that holds true this weekend and we can find that extra little pace that we’ve been looking for.”

The four-hour Continental Tire 240 at Watkins Glen International featuring the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge goes green at 1:55 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 30 and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv. A television broadcast of the race will air on FS1 at 9 a.m. on Sunday, July 8.

Koch Tries His Hand with eEuroparts.com Audi, Continental Tire Challenge TCR Class
With a four-hour race on tap for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, there are a handful of new entries and drivers looking to try their hand at the enduro.

One of those drivers is Kenton Koch, who competes regularly in the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda in the No. 25 P1 Motorsports LMP3 with Joel Janco. This weekend, however, he’s behind the wheel of the patriotic-liveried No. 12 eEuropoarts.com Racing Audi RS3 LMS machine in the TCR class with co-driver Tom O’Gorman.

“Matt Moran at eEuroparts.com basically wanted to really show what his new team could do,” said Koch. “He’s new to the Conti series this year and he’s been running the No. 10 with Lee (Carpentier) and Kieron (O’Rourke). Tom and I were brought in by Matt and he’s a very good guy to do that and give myself and Tom an opportunity to hopefully prove what his new team can do here.”

Accustomed to the one-hour, 45-minute races in Prototype Challenge, Koch is especially eager to participate in the Continental Tire 240, which is the second of two endurance races on the 2018 Continental Tire Challenge schedule.
“It’s actually going to be really cool to do a long race in the Continental Tire series just because it’s mainly two-hour races. To do a four-hour, it actually gives you some time to start to sweat a little more. It’s going to be cool to do a long stint, a proper stint.”

Koch has two previous starts in the Continental Tire Challenge, both of which came in 2013 in the Street Tuner (ST) class. Koch says those two starts were the last time he’s piloted a front-wheel drive car.

“It seems to work pretty good, I like it,” Koch said of the Audi, which wound up fifth on the Practice 1 charts in TCR. “We were pretty much right up there, but it was in wet, drying conditions and the lap times were coming down. I don’t think that’s representative of what we truly are, but we’re near the top, so that’s not bad.”

De Angelis Quickest in Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama Practice
Canadian driver Roman De Angelis posted the quickest time from two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA practice sessions on Thursday. Driving the No. 1 Kelly Moss Road and Race Porsche 911, De Angelis turned a best lap of 1 minute, 54.870 seconds (106.555 mph) in the day’s second of two sessions.
Both sessions were run in mixed weather conditions with periods of rain, but conditions were much better in the second, as De Angelis’ time was nearly 13 seconds quicker than David Kolkmann’s leading time in the day’s first practice on Thursday morning.

“Anytime you can end on top, it’s good,” De Angelis said. “It was an awesome session, actually. I like that kind of stuff where you’re fighting between slicks and wets and then it goes wet again. I think we timed it perfectly.

“We went out a bit in the beginning, just in case it did start raining early, just to try to put a lap in when it was more dry. It started drying out, so we pitted and waited it out. When we saw the storm coming, we got back in the car on slicks, and I think we picked a good time. I don’t think anyone else called it as well as we did, so I give most of the credit to these guys, because if we would have gone out on wets or if we would have waited, I don’t think we would have been where we were.”

Second quickest on the day was Platinum Cup points leader Trenton Estep with a best lap of 1:55.520 (105.955 mph) in the No. 3 JDX Racing Porsche. However, Estep and the JDX team face a challenging evening, as he was involved in an incident at the end of the second practice session along with Gold Cup class competitor Sebastian Carazo in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport Porsche 911.

Both drivers avoided injury, but Estep’s car sustained heavy front-end damage, while the rear of Carazo’s car was damaged in the incident. Both teams were working to repair their cars before Friday morning’s qualifying session.
Qualifying starts at 9 a.m. ET Friday, with the first of the weekend’s two 45-minute races slated for a 1:45 p.m. ET green flag. The race will be streamed live on IMSA.com.

Lewis Fastest On Opening Day As Lamborghini Super Trofeo Returns To Watkins Glen

The Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series returned to the track Thursday at Watkins Glen International with a pair of 40-minute practice sessions ahead of the weekend’s third and fourth rounds of the 2018 championship.

Damon Ockey in the No. 09 US RaceTronics Lamborghini for Lamborghini Calgary ran a total of 10 laps and paced the field with a time of 2:20.883 (86.880 mph) in the first 40-minute session which was run in a persistent rain and wet track.

The afternoon session provided a much better opportunity for teams to establish setups for Friday’s qualifying sessions. Corey Lewis in the No. 29 Change Racing Lamborghini for Lamborghini Charlotte put down the fast lap of 1:59.146 with an average speed of 102.731 miles per hour.

“Practice 2, finally got some running in, practice 1 we elected not to go out, it just wasn’t beneficial for us,” Lewis said. “We are happy with the car, as the session went it got drier and drier so the times just continued to drop.”

Qualifying for both races will begin at 9:30 a.m. with Race 1 on Friday at 4 p.m. ET and Race 2 on Saturday at 10:20 a.m. ET. Both 2018 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series races from Watkins Glen can be streamed on IMSA.TV and squadracorse.lamborghini.com/super-trofeo/north-america.