If you're anywhere in the U.S. watching Audis take the checkered flag, you'll probably find Brad Kettler and his crew. We caught up with him over breakfast to get a preview for today's Tudor USCC Six-Hour race at Watkins Glen, which starts at 11:15 AM this morning, to get a preview of the race.
Kettler, who is also an engineer for Audi's #1 R18 e-tron quattro in WEC, has been darting from Le Mans to Pirelli World Challenge and back to Watkins Glen this weekend but took a few seconds before the cars fired up this morning before the final practice to let us know what to look for.
Tire Wear Is Critical
"Tire wear is going to be critical today, it requires a lot of camber to ride it well, and there are some banked corners that are quite important. All of the GT cars are running a lot of camber," Kettler said.
Fuel Strategy Isn't
"Fuel strategy isn't going to be quite so critical, Watkins Glen isn't a place where you can run fuel saving strategy and go very quick, i think you'll see people on a go-like mad strategy."
Don't Be Surprised If You See Yellow Early
"Classically, a lot of cars get crashed out early going at The Glen because the aggregate speed is quite high and when they go straight from the start there's a lot of opportunities to have some problems."
It's A Handling Track
"A car has to be good on the brakes to get into the boot well, you can't have a car that's really out of balance in any way. You need the whole package here, especially going down into turn one, as the road changes camber there, you have an opportunity to get lockups, and then they'll have to suffer through it the whole stint with flat-spotted tires.
You really need to be able to handle the elevation change and the camber changes — because back in the boot and in turn one it tilts and rolls — the roll stiffness in the car and the way it changes is very important. You combine that with a lot of cars with a lot of camber in them already you end up with people who are racing each other in cars that are tricky. You get some people stealing the air off you, you get off into lockup."
Keep An Eye On The BMWs And Porsches In GT
"Balance-of-performance-wise we are not in a great position, for whatever reason, an unexplainable reason we are really in a disadvantage on top speed. Our car races very consistently but top speed wise it's not very good. The BMW will show quite well, I'm sure, and actually if you asked me who I thought would run well, I'd give a really good look at #44, the Magnus guys run really well here.
My focus is that our cars can get into the race and have a consistent run, normally even if the results of qualifying don't look great for us, they race fast over a long period of time."
Watkins Glen Is An American Racing Landmark
"It's the whole package here. It's the beautiful midwestern summer day, and the elevation change, and the different composition of the track — lots of concrete patches and asphalt — and it's really challenging to get a good setup because it's got some challenging conditions.
I like the combination after turn one, I like the esses over the hill, I like tracks with elevation changes, all the great tracks have it. Spa. Road America. Here. Le Mans… not so much.
It's just a storied race track, my first time was 1977 as a spectator and I've just done so many races here with so many different kinds of cars. As an American it's part of us, it's part of the American experience. Every race engineer has a setup for the Glen."
You can watch the race today at 11:15 am on Fox Sports 1
Photos: Getty Images Sport