So much for the “off weekend.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES has just its second weekend without a race or on-track action since early May, but four series regulars aren’t spending June 26-27 on the boat or barbecuing – they’re racing.
Sebastien Bourdais, Jimmie Johnson, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi each are scheduled to compete in the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen on Sunday at Watkins Glen International. This will be the first Six Hours of the Glen since 2019, as last year’s race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four-time INDYCAR SERIES champion Bourdais will team up with fellow Frenchmen Loic Duval and Tristan Vautier behind the wheel of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac in the six-hour race. The trio used a dramatic final stint by Bourdais, overcoming a broken rear wing, to win the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson and 2016 INDYCAR SERIES champion Pagenaud will join two-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Kamui Kobayashi in a powerful lineup for the No. 48 Ally Cadillac Racing entry.
“There is no question we have a strong team and showed some really good speed in the previous two Endurance Cup races,” Johnson said. “Simon and Kamui continue to show why they’re world-class drivers, and it’s great to be back working with Chad (Knaus) and the crews from Action Express and Hendrick Motorsports.”
2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Rossi was a late addition to the lineup for the DPi class-leading No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura, joining Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque. That trio, along with fourth driver Helio Castroneves, combined to win the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. Castroneves is not in the lineup this weekend, as the six-hour race is the shortest of the major endurance races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar, so only two or three drivers are needed.
This will be Rossi’s first IMSA start at Watkins Glen. He won the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race in 2017 at the track.
“Thrilled to get the opportunity to go back and race at Watkins Glen as it is one of my favorite tracks in the world,” Rossi said. “I wasn’t originally planning on joining WTR and Acura for this event, but I will do everything in my power to assist them on and off the track to ensure they continue to be in control of this championship.”
Three other drivers with recent INDYCAR starts also could capture some of the spotlight this weekend on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.
Kevin Magnussen, who made his INDYCAR debut in the REV Grand Prix presented by AMR last Sunday at Road America, will return to his full-time ride alongside Renger van der Zande in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. Magnussen and van der Zande enter this race with plenty of momentum, as they scored their first victory of the season June 12 during the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti will make his LMP3 debut this weekend in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier that he shares with cousin Jarett Andretti and fellow INDYCAR SERIES veteran Oliver Askew. Marco Andretti finished 19th in the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 30 in his only INDYCAR start of the season. Askew competed in Race 2 in the Chevrolet Dual at Detroit as a substitute for Felix Rosenqvist and again was an injury substitute last weekend at Road America, pinch-hitting for Rinus VeeKay.
Delayed coverage of the race starts at 7 p.m. (ET) Sunday on NBCSN.