Story Credits: Matthew Overton – Photo Credits: Jerry Chen
It was out to upstate New York and a classic American track for both NARS and VWSC this week as the Hypercars and GTs strutted their stuff at Watkins Glen and the demanding Boot layout. Both events hosted strong fields of first 29 cars (15 HY/14 GT) and 30 cars (11 HY/19 GT) that guaranteed exciting action at every point of the track for the 60 racing laps.
NARS qualifying saw the gauntlet thrown down across the classes with personal bests being set up and down the field. Series newcomer, PRO Luka Gray unlocked the potential of his Toyota GR010 to set a blazing 1:30.369 with the next four Hypercars within a second of that time. Top Hypercar AM was Jerry Chen in his Porsche 908-4 at 1:31.850, well ahead of his closest rival but laying down a marker that the PROs would be having some competition at this technical track. Top GT was Elisio Netto in his Audi R8 at 1:43.940 with the top GT AM timing laid down by Vinicius de Oliviera in another Audi at 1:44.774.
The race lived up to it’s promise, with lap after lap of close competition and lots of passing action – between classes as well as between cars chasing each other for race position. Unusually for the series, a number of technical issues saw several high-ranking series contenders retire early, opening the door for some interesting developments in the championships. At the checkered flag, it was Gray taking the overall and Hypercar win with almost a lap to his closest challenger, championship leader Daniel Kirby, with Tom Mountjoy taking the Hypercar AM win in a McLaren Senna, his first of the season after a long absence. It was another championship leader, Eduardo Beninca, his Lexus RCF taking the GT win over Netto, having passed him on the last pit cycle while de Oliviera turned his top placement in GT AM into the class win.
The VWSC race picked up where the NARS event left off although warmer conditions meant repeating drivers could not rely entirely on their previous experience. That said, it was Luka Gray topping the qualifying session in his Toyota GR010 at 1:30.314 of field that was largely Lamborghinis and Koenigsegg Jeskos with top Hypercar AM time set by Eric Moinet in one of those Lamborghinis at 1:32.280. Top GT was Aidan Coleman in his Corvette C8 at 1:43.488 while the top GT AM was the Aston Martin Vantage of Jamie Zoleski, just behind him at 1:44.282.
After a clean race start, each class, every car found themselves in close racing for laps at a time, particularly in the class leaders as it was frequently 3 cars and more that were in tight competition for the top car class positions in addition to driver class. Fewer technical retirements made for a busier race overall and there were many thrilling moments as Hypercars in pairs or threesomes swept by packs of GTs as they squabbled over race positions.
By the final lap, it was Luka Gray picking up his second overall/Hypercar win by over half a lap while Eric Moinet was able to turn his Hypercar AM pole position into a win, but not without some strong challenges and class lead changes over the course of the race. It was another series newcomer, Cameron Barker in his BMW made a strong move up the field to take the GT win while Jamie Zoleski leveraged his top of class qualifying with some PRO-level racing against the GT field to add the class win to his weekend results.
Just one rF2 race scheduled for the coming week – NARS returns to the popular Radical series with week 7, two sprint races at Sonoma. For those following the HY/GT series, the next races will be at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 14 and 16.
You can catch all the action on the race streams on our CMS Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7Kdp07PvIeW47f0_sM0emw.