Cadillac took the victory at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, continuing the manufacturers unbroken run of victories for the Cadillac DPi-V.R in the DPi era. However for the first time it was not the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing car which took the victory, rather Action Express Racing clinching their first victory of 2017 with the #5 Mustang Sampling car.
The #5, piloted by Joao Barbosa, crossed the line just 1.2 seconds ahead of the #85 JDC-Racing Miller ORECA, after a thrilling finish which saw the lead change twice in the last half an hour. Stephen Simpson and the JDC-Racing team were denied their first overall victory when Barbosa took advantage of well-timed GTD traffic and repassed for the lead with 10 minutes to go.
“I knew if traffic could play a role in the race, I could take advantage of it,” Barbosa said. “Coming into the last corner, (Simpson) had to check-up on a GT car so I got to pull a little bit of a move into Turn 1. He gave me just enough room to go around, it was really a fun race.”
Multiple cars initially looked to be controlling the race but each gradually fell out of contention. #2 Extreme Speed Motorsport started on pole and ran strong early on, but a coming together with a GTD Mercedes and multiple pit lane violation penalties ended their chance of victory.
The championship leading #10 WTR car made contact on the opening lap, breaking the right front suspension and sending it behind the wall. The car recovered to 6th overall and, crucially for the championship, ahead of the #31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac. The #31 was running strongly when a right rear tyre detached itself after a pit stop. The car was recovered to the pits on the back of a flatbed truck, costing the car 10 laps.
The #22 ESM Nissan and the #70 Mazda both retired with technical problems, but the hardest pill to swallow may be for the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team. The car set fastest laps in the hands of Ligier ace Olivier Pla, but a bad pit call knocked them from second to fourth, behind a train of GT cars with half an hour to go.
In GTLM, the now-standard cage fight occurred, and the race became alarmingly reminiscent of a touring car race, rather than an endurance race. BMW finally took a GTLM class win with the M6, leaving Ford, Corvette and Porsche all fighting over second best.
Gianmaria Bruni made his debut in the Porsche 911 RSR and was clearly hungry after Ferrari contractual issues kept him out of racing for 6 months. He and team mate Vanthoor were in a podium position before a puncture in the final moments would end their charge.
Acura controlled the GTD field and were set for the 1-2 finish, until (with only 45 minutes remaining) Segal pulled over with a broken right front suspension, having made contact with a Prototype earlier in the race. A particularly aggressive attack on the apex kerb of turn 1 finished off the suspension and the car stopped before the esses. The win for the #93 is the second in a row for the brand new NSX GT3.