Saturday Watkins Glen Notebook

Governor Invites Fans To "Ultimate Road Trip"

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo didn’t need a chauffeur for his lap around Watkins Glen International. The Governor drove a Corvette around the historic 3.4-mile circuit for a personal highlight of his visit prior to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race Saturday afternoon.

The Governor’s stop in the Finger Lakes Region proved to be good news for racing fans. He unveiled a new advertising campaign to take the “Ultimate Road Trip," including a television advertisement featuring New Yorker Robert DeNiro that spotlights Watkins Glen International.
It's always a pleasure to be at Watkins Glen – there’s so much history here," Governor Cuomo said. "If you’re at all interested in road racing, it happened here first. This is an international icon of road racing, Watkins Glen, and it’s such a pleasure to see it up to its full glory.
It's also an important asset for the state of New York. About 300,000 a year visit Watkins Glen, so that means it’s very important from an economic point of view to this entire region of the state. Anything we can do to work with Watkins Glen is not only a pleasure, but it’s smart for us, from a business point of view. … We would like to thank Watkins Glen for the inspiration for the new ad and everything they do for the state."

IMSA President and COO Scott Atherton and WGI President Michael Printup joined the Governor at the announcement.

Fittipaldi Ready for Added Demands

Christian Fittipaldi didn’t get to spray champagne after winning last year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. While Action Express Racing Corvette DP was receiving accolades in Gatorade Victory Lane, Fittipaldi was getting an IV in the infield care center following the race.

This year, the Daytona Prototypes are faster, creating more downforce while generating additional G-forces in the 11 turns on the historic 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International road course. Many of the Prototype teams have added an extra driver to their lineup due to the added demands expecting in Sunday’s race. Fittipaldi, however, feels fit heading into the event.

“It’s definitely going to be harder this year," said Fittipaldi, whose father Wilson and uncle Emerson both competed in Formula One at The Glen. “But to be honest, last year was 100-percent my mistake. I wasn’t expecting to drive that long, but I wound up spending a lot of time in the car because of where the yellows (caution periods) fell. I didn’t hydrate enough.

“This year is a lot different. Although the race is a lot tougher, I think everyone is a lot better prepared because they know what to expect on Sunday. I think it’s going to be a great race."

As a precautionary measure, Action Express Racing has listed Burt Frisselle from the team’s No. 9 Corvette DP to also drive the No. 5 if needed. Barbosa joined Darren Law in winning the 2012 event in addition to winning with Fittipaldi last year.

It’s not the heat or the added downforce that Fittipaldi feels will be the determining factor on Sunday, though.

“There’s going to be a lot of traffic out there, and it’s going to be even tough to negotiate your way around the slower cars than it is at Daytona or Sebring," Fittipaldi said.

A field of 53 cars is expected for Sunday – the largest six hour field at Watkins Glen since 57 cars took the green flag in 1984.

Unified Series Returns Corvette, Viper to WGI

The merger between GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n gives a pair of American classics – the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper – the first opportunity to compete at the historic Watkins Glen circuit in 15 years.

The last factory Viper effort at the circuit was in 1999, when David Donohue and Jean-Philippe Belloc won an FIA GT race in a French-based Team ORECA Viper GTS-R. This weekend, SRT Motorsports is fielding a pair of Dodge Viper SRT GTS-Rs – painted in the colors that ORECA carried to victory in the 2000 Rolex 24 At Daytona.

This is the first visit ever to the circuit for Corvette Racing with its iconic bright yellow race cars. The team is racing a pair of new Corvette C7.Rs for its Glen debut.

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