Hour two incident ends the day early for Sean Creech Motorsport

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Hour two incident ends the day early for Sean Creech Motorsport

IMSA Watkins Glen 2024

WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 23, 2024) – Sean Creech Motorsport (SCM) had high hopes for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen weekend, as development continues on the reintroduced Ligier JS P217.

Drivers Lance Willsey, João Barbosa and Jonny Edgar combined to put the No. 33 Focal One Ligier JS P217 through its paces heading into Sunday’s race. But despite the progressing learning curve, the day ended early for the Florida-based team, as Barbosa caught too much of the curbing in Turn 1 and found the wall.

Extreme temperatures were the storyline of the weekend, with ambient temps hovering at 95F and track temps over 120F Friday and Saturday. Through two 90-minute practice sessions – Friday afternoon and Saturday morning – the SCM team, in concert with Ligier, continued to make progress with the Ligier and Michelin tire combination, taking lessons learned through six test days at Watkins Glen through May and June. As the team’s Bronze-rated driver, Willsey took the helm for qualifying, pacing solid lap times and putting the No. 33 into P13 on Saturday morning’s starting grid.

Sunday morning began cool and cloudy, with inclement weather in the forecast. The race’s first incident came early, as two LMP2 cars made contact on lap two, with Willsey sliding safely by. Settling into a rhythm, Willsey laid down consistent laps – though slowed for a second caution for a GT car into the Turn 7 wall, which required repair. When the green flag flew once again, Willsey continued his strong pace, handing to Barbosa just over 90 minutes in.

“The team gave me a great car – it was easy to drive, it was fun to drive,” said Willsey. “I had a pretty good vantage point on the field approaching Turn 1 at the green – three or four wide – so I got a few spots there. Coming into the Boot, and before tires were up to temp, the two P2s came together. It was pretty dicey as they rolled across the track, so it was a case of ‘going where they are because they’re moving away.’ Things settled in after that, I just chipped away at it. We double stinted on the qualifying tires so getting to the end, it took a bit of tip toeing. But overall I was happy with it – we were able to get by a few P2 cars and make our way through the GT cars after our stop for fuel. We could have been competitive.”

Barbosa was amid his typically steady stint when he slid slightly wide heading into Turn 1. The curbing upset the rear of the car, sending it into a spin – and into the wall, in a very uncharacteristic incident.

“Lance did a great job, he had good pace,” said Barbosa. “Things just didn’t go my way. I went a bit wide into Turn 1, got high on the curb and it just spun me around to the inside. I’m really frustrated, and I’m sorry for the crew, who are going to have a lot of extra work to do. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I crashed out of a race.”

“Disappointed for the team, we were really heading in the right direction,” said Edgar. “We all agree on the direction the car has gone and the car is definitely easier to drive. I think we could have really shown something in the race – so we’ll look forward to doing that at the next race.”

Team principal Sean Creech was somewhat philosophical as his crew went to work tearing the car apart, in anticipation of a test at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park later this week.

“Obviously not ideal, but these things happen – especially here,” said Creech. “Watkins Glen is such a fast track, and the curbs can really catch a driver out. The chassis is fine, so we’ll take care of the rest and be ready to go at CTMP.”

SCM thanks partner Focal One for its continued support.

Next up for SCM will be the Chevrolet Grand Prix in at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario Canada, July 12-14. The race will be broadcast live in the U.S. on USA Network and Peacock. International viewers can watch via IMSA.tv, with IMSA Radio also available at IMSA.com.