Watkins Glen International spent the winter months completely resurfacing the entire 3.4-mile, 11-turn course. The new surface features a porous top layer that drains to a solid layer below. New drains were added to create an optimally-draining track, said to go from soaked to nearly dry within minutes. This weekend’s ninth and tenth rounds of the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour mark SCCA’s first visit to the course since the resurface was completed.
The majority of SCCA drivers present are experiencing the new surface for the first time and have taken the day to get a feel for the changes. The overwhelming comment is “smooth.” It doesn’t matter what car you’re driving, from Spec Miata to Formula Atlantic, a new smooth surface is making the track much easier to navigate.
Otherwise, the drivers are still getting a feel for the surface. The grip seems to be different, although it is not quite clear if there is less of it. Additionally, a few competitors say the rumble strips are taller than before, preventing drivers from using them as they had previously. This slight difference could play a role in the rest of the weekend as racers adjust to a different line in some categories.
The first of two qualifying sessions for seven race groups were completed Friday. A second qualifying session Saturday morning will set the grid for the afternoon’s 25-minute races. Results from today’s qualifying and results throughout the rest of the weekend are available at scca.com/wgimajors. Live timing for this weekend’s event is available at scca.com/live. More information on the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour can be found at scca.com/majors.
Photo by Josh Ashby