Carnage at The Glen…Again
Race one for the GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama is in the books, and there was so much carnage they’ll likely want to make a film about it. It only took two short laps to turn the picturesque New York State track into a scene reminiscent of Friday the 13th (only it was Friday the 30th).
This weekend is the second time both the GT3 Cup Challenge USA and GT3 Cup Challenge competitors faced off on the same track. The entry list for this weekend adds up to 40 Porsche 911s. While it makes for a spectacular visual — there isn’t anything like seeing 40 Porsches tear down a straightaway leading into a hard right turn — it’s clear that there may be some safety issues around this gathering of racers, especially at this track.
The start of the race was staggered with the Platinum class cars (consisting of Porsche 991.2s) leading the charge and the Gold class cars about half-way behind them. The challenge for drivers at Watkins Glen International Raceway is that first turn, a sloping right-hander. With 40 cars all vying for position, the likelihood of contact is high. Last year there were 35 competitors, and for the first race, the entire field charge down the straightaway and dove into that turn resulting in a fair amount of twisted metal.
To reduce the likelihood of that happening, IMSA now staggers the start between the Platinum Class and the Gold Class, just to give a little breathing room.
For yesterday’s race, the Platinum Class made it through the turn without incident, and, for the most part, the same is true for the Gold Class (although there was one 911 that decided to explore some off track grass, however, made it back to the asphalt). With the field past the first turn, it looked as if we were set up for a good old-fashioned race.
Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. After two laps the Alegra team and Michael De Quesada was looking to be in good shape. As he made his way around the track for the second time, he managed to leapfrog a number of cars and was settling into a rhythm. As he got to the bottom of the esses, disaster unfolded before his eyes. He was setting up to pass the Open Road entire when several cars made contact just to the left of him. In the blink of an eye, the track was engulfed in spinning Porsches. Miraculously Michael was able to drive through the carnage and exit the melee without a scratch to the number 31 car. Many other competitors wouldn’t be so lucky.
At least one driver was airlifted to the nearby hospital while two ambulances were dispatched to take injured drivers off the field. The track looked like a scene right out of Mad Max, twisted metal, spilled oil and more was strewn across the asphalt. The scene looked like something right out of Mad Max.
After waiting in the pits for what seemed like an eternity, race control eventually decided to cancel the race. There may be a makeup race in the works, and we’ll post updates as we get them.
For now, we can tell you at all drivers are ok (a few broken ribs and concussions)… and they’ll be back in fighting shape soon.