Meyer Shank Racing’s Oliver Jarvis believes this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen has the ingredients to produce an “extremely close” race, downplaying thoughts of a so-called “Acura walkover” in the third round of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
Jarvis and co-driver Tom Blomqvist head into the weekend as the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi points leaders, having retook the lead following a runner-up finish at Belle Isle.
While the 3.4-mile circuit in Upstate New York has suited the Acura ARX-05 in the past, the ORECA-chassied DPi has yet to win at The Glen, with Jarvis having been part of the winning lineup in last year’s race with the now -defunct Mazda DPi squad.
Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr won the WeatherTech 240 one week later, which was held at Watkins Glen in place of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I expect the cars to be extremely close,” said Jarvis. “[Watkins Glen] has predominately been known as an Acura track but I had a little look back through and the pace of the Caddys last year were very close. I think they’ve definitely closed the gap from the 6 Hours to the shorter race the following weekend.
“Given the step they seem to have made this year, I think we can presume they’re going to be in the fight. It’s not going to be the Acura walkover that some people believe it will be.
“It’s going to come right down to the finish, with some strategy involved. It’s going to be a tough one, that’s for sure.”
After Balance of Performance adjustments in every sprint race this season, both the Acura DPi and Cadillac DPi-VR return to the same minimum weights it ran at Watkins Glen last year, which Jarvis said should help produce a close fight.
“As we know, IMSA is so competitive this year,” he said. “I think we’re going to have our hands full, not only with the 10 [car] but also the Cadillacs, which look like they’ve made a really good step all season long.
“Over the years we’ve had some good results there, fortunately winning it with Mazda last year. We actually just beat the No. 60 Meyer Shank car.
“I know they’ve got a good package which fills us with confidence heading into this weekend.
“It’s going to be a tough weekend but certainly a highlight of the year for me.”
Wayne Taylor Racing’s Filipe Albuquerque echoes Jarvis’ thoughts heading into the weekend.
“Watkins Glen is normally a great track for our car,” said Albuquerque. “We’ll have to see how the balance of performance affects us.
“This championship has been very competitive. It’s about who makes the fewest mistakes and we are coming off a race weekend [in Detroit] that wasn’t great for us.
“A few mistakes cost us a lot. So, we enter this weekend with the feeling of needing to do a perfect job at Watkins Glen to get the third win of the year.”
Albuquerque and co-driver Ricky Taylor currently sit second in the DPi standings, just 10 points behind the MSR duo.
“The title is still very open,” said WTR team owner Wayne Taylor. “The Cadillacs still have the edge in terms of power and BoP. However, that’s out of our hands.
“We’re very much looking forward to going to Watkins Glen. It’s a race we haven’t won in a while. We had a successful test there recently. Everyone is excited.
“We love this track. The points race will continue. There’s so little gained or lost because there’s only six cars in the field—it’s pretty tough.
“We’re only ten points out of the lead, and the leading car is an Acura, which is good. I’m looking forward to going back to Watkins Glen.”