For the first time, MOMO NGT Motorsport will take to the track at the historic Watkins Glen International for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen this weekend, June 28 and 29.
The team will race in the 21-car GT Daytona (GTD) field of the larger IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, where four classes of highly competitive sportscars will be sharing the 3.4-mile circuit for six hours on Sunday.
Kuba Giermaziak and Christina Nielsen will pilot the No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT America (Type 991). MOMO partner and Giermaziak's season-long IMSA co-driver, Henrique Cisneros, will miss this event due to a prior obligation. Nielsen previously co-drove with Cisneros and Giermaziak at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring.
Although the MOMO NGT Motorsports team has never competed at this historic course, the high-speed and technical portions of the track play favor to Giermaziak and Nielsen's driving abilities. Giermaziak took the win last month in the Grand Prix of Monaco Porsche Supercup race in Monte Carlo, another win last weekend at the Spielberg, Austria Supercup race, and has been a consistent presence at the top of the leaderboards in the IMSA GTD class this season. Christina Nielsen, who also competes in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, currently holds the fifth position in the Platinum class of that series. She is contending in both the GT3 Cup and TUDOR Championship events this weekend, and will use her extra track time to better learn the track and share her insights with her teammate.
The MOMO brand and its founder, Gianpiero Moretti, experienced some history at the Watkins Glen circuit. Moretti won the final endurance race of his racing career at the New York circuit in 1998, when he clinched victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Six Hours of The Glen.
MOMO NGT Motorsport prepares for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the GlenKuba Giermaziak, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver:
Neither you nor Christina has competed at Watkins Glen. What are you expecting for your first time here?"I think it's going to be tough, but luckily, we have quite a lot of practice before qualifying and Christina will know the track as she is driving two series this weekend. I think in general, the longer the race is the bigger the chance to win we have. We struggle at the moment in qualifying, but I think on race pace our team is doing awesome job. I hope it's going to work out well, as the bad luck has to stop now!"
There will be more than 50 cars sharing the track for this six-hour event. With the longer length of this circuit, how much will the larger field affect the traffic and strategy for this race?"I think this is one of the good things about our series. The track is full of cars, you really can't make any mistakes and this makes it even more competitive and prestigious. We will have to watch out, as we are always the slowest category on track, and some of the prototype guys seem to think that we should move out of the way. The trick is to find the right balance between going safe and fast."
Watkins Glen is known as quite a fast track. Does this technicality and speed play into yours and the MOMO NGT team's strengths?"I think we can be strong at any track. I know the team is working super hard to get everything going and I'm sure that this hard work will pay off. We are super strong in race pace, but sometimes I struggle to get the best out of the car in qualifying. The rubber that I'm used to from Porsche Supercup is a lot different to what we use in TUDOR and that's my issue."
Christina Nielsen, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver:
This will be your third race with the MOMO NGT TUDOR Championship team this season. What have you learned from the team that will help you in the Six Hours of the Glen?
"The season is a constant learning curve and I hope to use the knowledge and experience that the team and I have gained so far and gain even more this weekend. For the endurance races, it's important to stay consistent and make it to the finish, and that's what we're focusing on for Watkins Glen."
You will be doing double driving duty at the Glen, as you will also be racing in the Porsche GT3 Cup. How will this extra track time benefit you and the team?"It is great that I get so much track time by doing both series, but the cars do have some differences and drive on different tires. My focus will also be on separating the two championships and the two cars that I drive. Luckily, the schedule looks nice for us and I am looking forward to all three races."
Ramez Wahab, NGT Motorsport Owner/No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Team Manager: Coming from Detroit Belle Isle, a short event and a street circuit setup, what have you been working on in the off time to prepare for Watkins Glen?"We had a good race start at Detroit Belle Isle. Henrique was going very strong through the field by picking up car by car until he had an incident due to a lapped car. We had to rebuild the car for this upcoming race at the Glen. Time was on our side for this event, as we had quite a break between both races to get everything done that we needed to."
At this event, all four classes will again be sharing the track. With upwards of 50 cars all fighting on the historic circuit, what's the most important key to having a successful finish at the Glen?"We are really looking forward to the Glen. It's such an awesome and historic track, and the competition is going be strong and with four classes running together. It's going to be a big challenge. Neither of our drivers have raced at The Glen before and yet I'm pretty confident. Kuba won the last two Supercup races back in Europe and he adapts pretty quickly to new tracks. Christina is showing great performance this year, as she recently finished second at Lime Rock and will do double duty this weekend by competing in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge and the Tudor Series."
The green flag will drop on the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at 11:15 a.m. EDT on June 29. Tune in to FOX Sports 1 for LIVE coverage of the race beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Qualifying will be streamed live on IMSA.com on Saturday, June 28, beginning at 3:55 p.m. ET.