Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wearthertech championship 6hrs at the Glen

As hollowed a racing circuit as Watkins Glen is, I would suggest changes that I think would make it even better. The bus stop should go. Let that back straight be a flat out stretch. However turn 5 at the end of the back straight should be made a bit more squared exactly like turn one. Leading off turn 5 you would have a run off area, and a set of spaced out tire barriers. Tire barriers will damage a car while catching it, and gravel or sand traps would stop the car while preserving it. But a car coming back on track from there will leave a mess, reducing the racing line, and possibly causing other on track issues. That simple change to the track would do wonders, simply and brilliantly.

It was refreshing to see a mix of prototypes in the hunt for the win. However we could not help wondering. Had Rebellion been here, would they simply walk away with this thing and ride into the sunset triumphantly? At Sebring, Rebellion was close in performance to the Cadillacs, even though Neel Jani had to be on the ragged edge to keep the pace, but it was pretty close. The JDC/Miller Oreca 07 at the time was not on the pace of the Rebellion Oreca. The team is just not  on the level of Rebellion at setting up a P2 car. The Cadillacs were slowed after the sebring test, before Long Beach and then again before Detroit. Only then was the JDC Oreca starting to get a sniff of glory. 

At Watkins Glen, the PR1 Mathiassen Ligier JS P217 received assistance from Onroak and they also brought in Olivier Pla. The effort showed because the car was setting fastest laps during the race, and could have won it overall had it not been for a strategy blunder. Judging by 24hr of Lemans performances, we can assume that whatever performance achieved by a 2017 spec LMP2 Ligier, a 2017 spec LMP2 Oreca can outmatch it. Given that a Ligier was the fastest car in the field here, the Oreca at least in Stephen Simpson's grasp should have been faster. But it wasn't. Had rebellion shown up with an Oreca 07 fully on song (which they have the means to do), it would have blown away the whole field. Rebellion's 2 cars ran 1-2 at LeMans for the majority of the race before hitting troubles, so they have no lack of strategy and efforts. The cadillacs should be able to keep up with an Oreca 07 in optimum race trim.

We believe the Cadilac's have been pegged back too far. They should be taken back to their Detroit balance of performance adjustments, or just slightly below their Sebring performance level. Let the others do the work to catch up. We should not forget that Cadillac put in a lot of effort get these cars to their performance. Don't reward other's mediocrity. It should not be easy to win in the top category of a top rung championship. If or when Penske and Joest racing jump in the fold, they would be doing so with no shame of making their intentions clear, and no shyness about flaunting their racing resources. 

At Petit Lemans we hope not to see Rebellion or Penske with expertly set up Oreca 07's blowing away hobbled Cadillac DPi's. Long time entrants should not be left vulnerable to part time or new entrants coming in to wreak havoc. Unless of course those new part time or new entrants have also done a very good job. Until then free up the Caddies a bit. Their strength gives prestige to the series.

The BMW M6 finally has a win with Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims. This car has been plagued by its size. We don't think many in the team thought they would have a win. Next year they will have a BMW M8. In spy shots of the road car testing, it seems to be as big if not bigger than the M6. Unless it's extremely efficient in other areas besides aerodynamics, it too will have trouble being competitive and getting its first victory.

During an interview of Will Turner, owner of Turner Motorsport (#96 BMW M6 GT3), while talking about the speed of the Acura NSX's, he kept referring to them as Hondas. Honest slip up or underhandedly putting them down? Sure they are made by Honda, but they are the luxury brand, competing with BMW in the marketplace.