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RLL Racing Wins Sahlen’s Six Hours After Postrace Penalty to Porsche Penske

(Photo: Nathan Solomon | The Podium Finish)

UPDATE (9:35 p.m. ET): The No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car was assessed a penalty in post-race inspection. The Porsche was found with a skid block measuring less than the permitted minimum thickness, according to IMSA. The prototype was moved to the rear of the GTP class.

The No. 25 BMW M Team RLL car, driven by Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly, was awarded the victory. The No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac got moved to second while the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura got moved to third.

Porsche Penske later released a statement saying that they believe the skid block was within the legal tolerance and that the team will protest.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Matthieu Jaminet made his race-winning move at just the right time.

Over the closing stint, Jaminet and his No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car ran down the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL car in the closing stint and passed Connor De Phillippi with five and a half minutes remaining, and pulled away.

A minute later, Bill Auberlen flipped his No. 95 Turner Motorsport GTD Pro car in Turn 11 and brought out a full course yellow, effectively ending the race. Auberlen walked away unscathed, and Porsche Penske walked away with its second win of the season and its first in the Michelin Endurance to extend its points lead.

“What a race. It didn’t fail to live up to promise,” Co-driver Nick Tandy said. “We had a great strategy, great pit stops all day long and gave [Jaminet] the tools to go do a job, and he came through in the end.”

With an hour and 14 minutes remaining, the No. 6 car with Tandy behind the wheel overtook the No. 31 Action Express GTP car for second overall to begin the penultimate stint of the race. However, the way pit strategy played out, DePhillippi blended into the lead and drove away from the field.

With 48 minutes remaining, the No. 31 car darted to pit road first among the top three. The No. 25 car pitted just two minutes later while the No. 6 car stretched out the stint until a little over 40 minutes remained in the race. During the final stop, Tandy hopped out and Jaminet got in, blended into second place and went to work on the DePhillippi.

“I came out of the pits and knew that the gap was quite big. But as we know, there’s just so many cars out there,” Jaminet said. “It was all about traffic. You just have to say ‘ok, let’s take full risk.’ We agreed to this as a team before that. Let’s not think about the championship and let’s just go all in and see what happens.

“I just saw that with all the traffic, lap after lap, I was just slightly cutting tenth after tenth. Then I started to see him and then I was OK. It starts to feel good when you start to see the car in front of you.

“We got to Turn 7 and there was traffic in front of us. I saw a small gap on the inside, so just basically went in and just hoped it works.”

The No. 25 car suffered damage early on but the car came back and had tremendous pace late in the race. But in the end, DePhillippi said, the results came down to heavy LMP3 traffic.

“I was really confident with the car. Everything felt in control,” DePhillippi said. “All it took was two laps where I had LMP3 cars driving next to each other for like two and a half corners. You’re going to lose three seconds and there’s nothing you can do about it.

“When you’re the chaser, you have a 50-50 shot. You just got to do the opposite of the guy ahead of you and you have a higher chance of getting that right. When you’re the leader, you have a bigger chance of getting caught out.”

(Photo: Cornnell Chu | The Podium Finish)

While the race came down to the closing laps, the theme of the opening hours in GTP was survival.

Two cars in IMSA’s top class crashed in the first 65 minutes of the racing, including one in Lap 1, Turn 1. While exiting the first corner, the No. 24 BMW Team RLL car driven by Augusto Farfus spun and hit the Armco barrier, suffering major damage and causing a full course yellow. The car retired from the race.

Just over an hour in, the No. 1 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing entry driven by Sebastien Bourdais lost it all by itself entering Turn 11 and hit the wall. The car made it back to pit road and went a lap down because of repairs. Later in the race with co-driver Renger van der Zande, the car suffered damage in a crash caused by the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports LMP3 car. It ended up finishing sixth.

The No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport car led for most of the second hour of the race, but just beyond the two-hour mark, Jaminet took the lead back in the No. 6 car. A short time later, the No. 7 car, driven by Felipe Nasr at the time, suffered hybrid powertrain issues from second place and went behind the wall for multiple hours.

Moments later, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport GTP car lost a wheel exiting the bus stop. Felipe Albuquerque limped the machine back to pit road and the team replaced the tire. Albuquerque had to return to pit road for a drive-through penalty because of a pit lane speed violation. The car fell two laps down and battled various other issues throughout the remainder of the race.

In LMP2, the No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR entry dominated the class for most of the race, but really took off when 18-year-old Nolan Siegel hopped into the car. Ben Hanley brought the machine home in the final hours for the team’s first win of the season.

“You’ve got to be careful. When you get into a lead position, it’s no good to just [burn] fuel and trying to take off into the distance because it only takes a yellow, and that wipes out the advantage,” Hanley said. “You’re better off [playing it safe] to save a bit of fuel. Just keep it in the back pocket for when something happens, and the team recognized that.”

Just over half an hour in, the No. 11 TDS Racing LMP2 car, which was the class polesitter and points leader, crashed in Turn 11 with Steven Thomas behind the wheel. The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports LMP2 car driven by Ben Keating spun out and Thomas couldn’t avoid him and drove into the tire barrier. TDS Racing lost several laps and finished seventh in the class. PR1 finished on the podium in third in the class.

In LMP3, the No. 74 Riley Motorsports car led most of the race from the class pole and fended off the No. 30 Jr lll Racing car to win the Sahlen’s Six Hours for the third consecutive year.

“We all work well together, we all understand the job we’re asked to do and we’re required to do to achieve the results that we want,” Robinson said when asked about his success at Watkins Glen. “I think it definitely comes from our head Bill Riley. He sets the example for all of us … and the attitude that we need to continue on with.”

(Photo: Aaron Brink | The Podium Finish)

For the first time in team history, Vasser Sullivan swept the GTD Pro and GTD classes.

The No. 14 GTD Pro car piloted by Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat led the class for most of the race, but Hawksworth surrendered the lead on pit road because of a speeding penalty. His pit road limiter didn’t maintain a proper pace and he exceeded the limit by four kilometers

Hawksworth served a pass-through penalty and went on to battle the No. 3 Corvette Racing car driven by Antonio Garcia for the victory.

“It was a whirlwind, to be honest,” Hawksworth said. “When I left the box, the PLC wasn’t controlling the speed, so I overspeed when I left the box and I don’t know why.

“Then, just got my head down. I was obviously behind the No. 3 … I got a slightly better run off of Turn 7 than the previous laps and I was just slightly closer. I think I caught him by surprise a little bit and then got back to the lead. More relief, than anything.”

The Vasser Sullivan GTD car with Aaron Telitz, Frankie Montecalvo and Parker Thompson finished ahead of the GTD Pro car, something Telitz views as an accomplishment.

“This is the coolest, best day we’ve had and the best day I think I’ve had as a driver overall,” Telitz said. “Finishing in front of the 14 car overall — pretty cool stat, but you don’t get any extra points or anything for it.”

The IMSA WeatherTech Championship returns in two weeks at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Nathan Solomon serves as the managing editor of The Podium Finish. He has been part of the team since 2021 and is accredited by the National Motorsports Press Association. Solomon is a senior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Contact him at

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