Four races in the 2018 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup season may look short.
Nevertheless, team racing drivers and engineers have an extended amount of time for race preparation. As drivers exercise their minds and bodies for the hot-summer conditions of the Sahlen’s Six Hours Of The Glen, mechanics calibrate the setup of their four-wheel endurance machines before loading them in the haulers for a trip to Schuyler County, New York.
As the clock continues its tick for the waving of the green flag at Watkins Glen International, here are my IMSA Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup race predictions for the six-hour race:
Prototype: Cadillac vs. Acura vs. Nissan
Even without Ricky Taylor in the Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Cadillac this year, the team’s 2nd place finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring shows how much fight they have in racing for their 2nd straight IMSA WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship, and their quest for the 2018 Tequlia Patron North American Endurance Cup. To secure both championships, they have to beat the front-running Action Express Racing team, as well as the two Acura Team Penske entries.
Because anything can happen in a race, be on the lookout for the No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM car and winner of Sebring, Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek, and Nicolas Lapierre finding their way forward in the Prototype grid — and who knows, they may be a closer in the race just like at Sebring.
GT Le Mans: Ford GT
With the No. 66 and 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing cars ranked one-two respectively in the North American Endurance Cup standings, their main challengers are expected to be defending race winners BMW Team RLL, and the Corvette Racing duo of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen — in the GT Le Mans class.
GT Daytona: Championship Consistency
Fresh out of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 3rd place result in GTE AM (in a Ferrari 488 GTE), expect once again, Ben Keating, and Jeroen Bleekemolen, and the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley to be a top-three running car over the course of six hours, and perhaps giving Lamborghini and Acura a run for their money in the final 20 minutes around The Glen. After all, they are both the reigning champions of last year’s North American Endurance Cup, and the current points leaders.