International GT Returns To Watkins Glen With A Record Entry
As everyone knows, New York was one of the states hit hardest by the pandemic and the annual event at Watkins Glen International was cancelled in 2020, so the excitement was double for the return to the Glen for 2021. A series record of 47 cars were entered in the event with 15 of entrants competing for the first time in IGT.
We started off with a bit of a damp test day on Thursday but after the skies cleared, the weather was perfect all weekend! The sprint races belonged to TOM PANK in his newly powered #42 prepared by Ultra Performance. It looked the same as usual but Tom stepped to the 4.R category at Watkins Glen and dominated both sprint races. Followed by JUAN GONZALES #81 in his Mission Foods/Car Amigo Porsche. While just behind there was a lively battle in the 4 liter category.
Among the 4 liters MARK MATHYS #77 won the first sprint followed by TODD SLOAN #25 and DAVE WILDRICK #63. In the second sprint Mathys came out on top once again, with DAVID TUATY #68 from TLM Racing, coming in second in a brand new car and Sloan rounding out the podium.
For the enduro Tuaty figured out his new wheels and for the first time in IGT competition finished first overall in the 70-minute race. Todd Sloan turned out to be Mr. Consistency again on the podium finishing right behind Tuaty in second overall. Third in the 4 liter was Mathys who teamed with co-driver MIKE SKEEN. Mathys has also taken over the points championship lead after Watkins Glen.
Tom’s son LUKAS PANK #40 won the first sprint race in the 3.8 category but had a bit of an encounter in sprint #2, which ended in a barrel roll of the car. Lukas came out unscathed but his dad is now referring to him as “flipper”. The car was skillfully (and quickly) repaired by Ultra Performance and was able to run in the enduro where Lukas finished just off the podium in fourth.
JODY MILLER #3 in his TLM Racing 3.8 Porsche had an outstanding weekend finishing second to Pank in sprint race #1 and winning both sprint #2 and the enduro where he shared driving duties with PIPPA MANN. IGT Mission Foods GT3 2019 Champion, ED BAUS #52, Demon Speed Motorsports also stood on the podium in all three races, finishing with a pair of thirds and a second in the enduro. Also making a couple of podium appearance was ROBERT WISEN #27, Ultra Performance with second and third place finishes.
In the sprint races the 3.6 category was handily won by new comer to IGT, DARIUS TRINKA #15. In fact, Darius finished just behind the 4.R and 4.0 Porsches (and in front of all the 3.8’s) in both sprint races….in a 3.6 liter Porsche! The 3.6 category was one of the largest IGT has seen and there were lively battles throughout. Second in sprint race #1 went to IGT newcomer from Quirt Racing, BRYAN SIRCELY #103. And taking a third in the first sprint followed by a second place in the second was STEVE KATZ #113, OnTrack Insurance. Steve is a regular at our Lime Rock round but ventured to Watkins Glen for the first time and we were thrilled to see him.
ROLAND VEIT #16 from Pocono Sportscar in his shiny red Ferrari won both sprint races in the Maranello Cup followed by SEB COPPOLA #288 from RM Motorsports out of the Michigan.
The Stuttgart Cup Cayman category saw one of its largest fields as well at Watkins Glen, with many newcomers to IGT. It was also the first time we’ve seen three Stuttgart Cup classes with 4.0, 3.8 and 3.4 liter entries.
TOM KOPCZYNSKI #520 from RS1 had a flawless weekend finishing first in the 3.8 category and also first overall in the Stuttgart Cup in all three races. Tom was joined by co-driver ERIC FILGUEIRAS in Sunday’s enduro. In sprint race #1. MIKE MARTIN #5 in his black and yellow ZOTZ Racing Cayman finished second in both sprint race 1 and the enduro, while newcomer ROLAND KRAINZ#619 rounded the sprint race 1 podium. Another new face in IGT competition, JOHN ALEXANDER #271 finishes second in sprint race 2.
The newest Stuttgart Cup category, 4.0 saw newcomer JOSEPH RIZZO #12 from RS1 sweep the weekend winning all three races
. We will see Rizzo again this week at VIR.
Our 2019 and 2020 Champion WILL WACHS#017 saw all three steps of the podium at the Glen finishing first in the enduro, second in sprint race #1 and third in sprint race #2. However, his consistency kept him safely in the points lead for the season with three events remaining.
CHRIS RUPPEL #54 from ZOTZ Racing enter Watkins Glen in a Cup car but after some mechanical issues in qualifying, turned to his Cayman 3.4 to race and had a great weekend. Ruppel won the first and second sprint races and finished second in the enduro. Also on the 3.4 podium was newcomer, DOUGLAS OH #080, who shared driving duties with co-driver VICTOR LARIN. Doug took third place in sprint race 1, Victor was second in sprint race 2 and the duo shared driving duties for the enduro finishing third.
Also running in a 3.4 Cayman was SCOTT WELLIVER #20, in the Golf colors, finishing just off the podium in fourth for the first sprint race. IGT welcomed Welliver’s winery GLENORA Wines as a series sponsor, see below for the entire story!
In the battle at the front of the field was KIEL HOGAN #9 racing a McLaren in the Exhibition category. It’s been a couple years since we’ve seen him and he was as good as we remember!
Although not on the podium, there were several other newcomers to IGT making their first appearance at Watkins Glen. MICHAEL SAIA #13 from KMC Motorsports and teammate to Trinka and Oh, raced in the Mission Foods GT3 Cup 3.6 category. In the same class was also JOE DORIO #636. Additionally, in the Cup category in 4.0 liter was RICK IORIO #94. Joining the crowded Stuttgart Cup category was CHARLES BELLUARDO #37 in a Cayman 3.8.
As we say goodbye to New York, it’s a quick turn-around before we have another full field for the seventh round of the 2021 season at VIR this week, September 23-26. Registration is still open for the event by clicking on the NY logo above or contact Julie@InternationalGT.net.
IGT Welcomes New Partner Glenora Wines
Scott Welliver is no stranger to International GT competition, having run both his Cayman (as he did at WGI) and his GT3 Cup car in IGT races over the years. But has now taken a step into Series sponsorship with his Glenora Winery. The exceptional wines from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York (not far from The Glen) will be featured at all the IGT podium ceremonies.Our thanks go to Scott and Glenora Winery.
Selling or looking for a race car, trailer, equipment, etc? We’ll highlight it in our Marketplace section. This is free to International GT competitors and teams and will run for about 4 email blasts. Just send a photo, description and contact information to Julie@InternationalGT.net.
The official series photographer for International GT is John Kernodle. John attends all IGT events and provides galleries of photos for all competitors to select from, as well as offering special photo packages to participants. Click on the photo above to visit the Kernodle Photography site.
Pirelli Tire Orders
Pirelli is the official tire of International GT and Frisby Performance Tire is the sole supplier. Click on the logo to link to their IGT tire order side or call Frisby at (800)373-7390.