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Cadillac aiming to sustain momentum

The Glen next up for important six-hour race in the championship picture

DETROIT (June 19, 2024) – Three races totaling 31 hours, 40 minutes are packed into June for Cadillac Racing, which concludes its two continent IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship journey this weekend at Watkins Glen International.

The Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen is the third of five rounds of IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, which is paced in points by the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R. Cadillac is tied for the top in the Manufacturer Cup.

The No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R will employ full-season drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande, while the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R will have regulars Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken joined by endurance driver Tom Blomqvist for the six-hour race on the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International road course.

“The last two years I’ve scored a pole position, second place, and a third-place finish, so this year it would be fantastic to finally reach that top step,” Blomqvist said. “Pipo and Jack are locked in a championship fight for the overall championship, and we currently lead the Endurance Cup standings, so I will be giving my all to help the team.”

A 90-minute practice session is scheduled for Friday and another Saturday preceding the 15-minute qualifying round. The No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R has qualified on the pole in three of the five races, and the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R won the Long Beach race from the pole.

The No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R started and finished second at The Glen in 2023, while the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R placed fifth in the inaugural season of GTP. Cadillac won the 2017 race in its first season of IMSA prototype competition.

Four of the drivers are coming off competition in the Hypercar class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in which Bourdais and van der Zande, joined by six-time INDYCAR champion Scott Dixon, started on the front row for Cadillac’s highest position ever in the race. The No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R, with Derani and Aitken joined by 2022 F2 champion Felipe Drugovich, started 18th. The sister No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R – a full-time FIA World Endurance Championship entry – started and finished seventh in the iconic endurance race.

The month started with the Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic.

Peacock will provide flag-to-flag streaming of qualifications (3:25 p.m. ET Saturday) and the race (11 a.m. Sunday) in the U.S., while IMSA.TV will stream to a global audience. USA will telecast the first half of the race starting at 11 a.m. imsaradio.com and RadioLeaMans.com will broadcast qualifying and the race.

‘No Perfect Formula’
Documentary chronicles Cadillac Racing’s first year of Grand Touring Prototype/Hypercar competition on its road to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a 21-year absence. WATCH

Race car versus road car
Sebastien Bourdais and the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R put some high-powered road cars to the test in a drag race. WATCH

What they’re saying

No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R

Sebastien Bourdais: “The biggest issue we had last year is we only went for durability and homologation purposes with that car and most everybody else not having the double program of IMSA and Le Mans went testing and had a leg up on us. It proved quite challenging and we struggled, but I think we have a better understanding of what the car needs and what it likes and doesn’t like to try to not repeat the weekend. It’s a long stretch from Detroit to Test Day to Le Mans to Watkins and hard on the crew. We just need a slightly different approach and a stronger baseline, so hopefully we’ll hit the ground running.”

Renger van der Zande: “We’re coming to Watkins Glen with a bit of a revenge taste after not having a strong performance there last year. It’s a flowing and high-speed track, which is like Le Mans so for that we’re still in the groove. It is an important race in the championship, so it’s now time to act.”

No. 31 Whelen Cadillac V-Series.R

Pipo Derani: “We’re going back to a place where we were strong but not the strongest., so we’re hoping to take a step forward. Obviously, last year the qualifying was canceled because of rain so we started the race second and wound up finishing second. It will be a critical point of the championship, so as we enter the second half of the championship hopefully by then it will be clearer – different from last year — the ones who will have a better chance to fight for the championship. Watkins being a long race, it will be important for us to get through it without any issues. With limited track time in practice, we need to maximize the time. That can be beneficial for the race.”

Jack Aitken: “It’s a track that rewards being on it from the word go, so getting enough practice time between us really is what sways it. (coming off Le Mans and into another endurance race) I think everybody is going to be a bit fatigued, so it’s going to take a bit of extra vigilance to watch out for each other and we have the processes in place to avoid where mistakes can creep in. Quite a few of our competitors will go through something similar.”

Tom Blomqvist: “I’m really excited to be joining back up with Action Express Racing and Cadillac Racing for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen alongside Pipo and Jack. Watkins is one of the highlight races of the season, it’s such a fantastic track and it’s so much fun to drive. The last two years I’ve scored a pole position, second place, and a third-place finish, so this year it would be fantastic to finally reach that top step. Pipo and Jack are locked in a championship fight for the overall championship, and we currently lead the Endurance Cup standings, so I will be giving my all to help the team. After a difficult past month for me personally, to be returning to a championship that I love competing in makes me very motivated and I can’t wait to get back in the paddock and hit the ground running.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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