Round 6 of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen
Watkins Glen International
No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance®/ORECA/Gibson
Stephen Simpson/Misha Goikhberg/Chris Miller
June 28 – July 1, 2018
Racetrack: Watkins Glen International
3.4-mile permanent road course features 11 turns
Race: Sunday, July 1, 2018 9:45 – 3:45 ET
LIVE TV: Fox Sports 1 on Sunday, July 1 live at 9:30am ET
Radio/Web: www.IMSA.com – All sessions LIVE
Will History Repeat Itself? Misha Goikhberg, Stephen Simpson and Chris Miller finished second in the Sahlen’s Six Hour at the Glen last year in their “P” class debut. It was the second in a string of three podium finishes (3rd at Detroit, 2nd at Watkins and 2nd at MoSport) that helped them finish fourth in the series championship. The last two rounds of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship at Mid-Ohio and Detroit have led to promising indications that a podium finish is around the corner. Stephen Simpson set the fastest lap of the race at Mid-Ohio and Misha Goikhberg turned over the car in podium contention at Detroit. Unfortunately, a late race incident spoiled the party, but the Red Dragon™ has the pace to contend and the GAINSCO drivers know how to make it happen at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Double Duty: Stephen Simpson has a busy weekend ahead. He will contest the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge 4-hour race in addition to the Sahlen’s 6-hour. Stephen co-drives the No. 54 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi RS3 LMS, with teammate Michael Johnson, who is paralyzed from the waist down. The JDC-Miller MotorSports entry is fitted with a specialized steering wheel which has large control rings for the accelerator and brake. Normally a paddle shift system, this wheel has buttons for the gears. Simpson controls the acceleration and brakes with pedals, while Johnson uses the rings. Simpson and Johnson both use the buttons for shifting. At over six feet, Simpson’s height and legs present the biggest challenges with the steering wheel configuration: “I really have to focus on avoiding the acceleration and brake rings with my legs…it’s tricky but an incredible honor; Michael inspires me every day,” said Simpson.
Triple 7s: Traditionally a lucky number…the GAINSCO gang hopes to up the ante this weekend…they’ve scored three seventh place finishes in the first half of the season and currently sit just one point out of….you guessed it…seventh!
It’s Miller Time: Stephen Simpson and Misha Goikhberg welcome back their teammate Chris Miller. Chris drives the long races in the Red Dragon. Miller finished in the top five in all four endurances races in 2017, including the second-place finish at Waktins Glen.
Misha Goikhberg on his favorite part of the Watkins Glen Track: “My favorite part of the track is the last corner. It’s very hard to get right, but extremely rewarding when you do. It’s fast, and high consequence if things go wrong. The car gets a little bit loose on entry, then there is a bit of banking and you get very close to the wall on exit. To get a good lap you need commitment and concentration. The track is very high-grip, so you need to dig in a little deeper and get the most out of this extra grip.”
Stephen Simpson on the challenges of Watkins Glen: “WGI is a tough track for a few reasons. It is very high grip and means you need to be fully committed at every corner to squeeze out a fast lap time, more so than any other track on the schedule. Setup is also challenging because even with a ‘not so good setup’ the car will still feel good because of the high grip nature of the track, so it means we need to investigate every aspect of what the car is doing and how it is handling and continue to work at improving the setup, even if each change we make is only marginally better. A few marginally better changes will add up to something meaningful. I’m really excited to get back in our GAINSCO Auto Insurance No. 99 and continue the positive momentum we have going!”
Chris Miller on his return to The Red Dragon: “It’s been three months since Sebring, and I’ve been counting down the days until I get to race the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Red Dragon at Watkins Glen! With all the time off I’ve been focused on trying to make sure I stay sharp. It was great to do some testing with the team recently at Watkins Glen, but I’ve also been doing some karting at our local track in Minnesota. Driving a 6-speed shifter kart is extremely physical and great training for any type of racing, and it’s also a ton of fun! Hopefully the extra laps will pay off and we can get the No. 99 on the podium!”