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Lilou Wadoux takes victory at Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen

After becoming the first woman to win a race in the FIA WEC, Lilou Wadoux continued to make history by winning the LMP2 category at the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen, marking the first female victory in LMP2 in IMSA.

Lilou Wadoux, Richard Mille AF Corse LMP2 Oreca, Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen, IMSA, 2024, Watkins Glen
Photo credits: IMSA / Jake Galstad

After becoming the first woman to win a race in the FIA WEC, Lilou Wadoux continued to make sports car history with a stellar performance at the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. The young Frenchwoman became an IMSA race winner by securing the top honor in the LMP2 category.

Wadoux, 23, returned behind the wheel of the #88 Richard Mille AF Corse Oreca prototype after the 12H of Sebring, partnering with Luis Perez Companc and fellow Ferrari factory driver Nicklas Nielsen.

It was Lilou's first victory in LMP2 machinery, having made her debut in the FIA WEC at the wheel of an Oreca prototype in 2022. She later focused her efforts on GT competitions once she joined the ranks of Ferrari. In 2023, Wadoux raced in the FIA WEC and took a historic victory at the 6H of Spa Francorchamps in the LMGTE class. She also competed in the GT World Challenge Europe, made appearances in the GT World Challenge America, and debuted in IMSA.

The 2023 6 Hours of the Glen was Wadoux's first entry in North America's premier sports car series. She would return for a full Michelin Endurance Cup campaign in 2023, again in the LMP2 class with Richard Mille AF Corse.

While her main 2024 program saw the Frenchwoman heading to Japan for her debut in another elite championship, Super GT, Lilou showcased great speed in the first two IMSA endurance rounds, although luck was not on her side. A technical issue in the early stages of the 24 Hours of Daytona took the team out of contention, while an accident in the first stint eventually led to a retirement at Sebring. Watkins Glen was therefore an opportunity for Perez-Companc, Wadoux, and Nielsen to prove they had what it takes to run at the top of the LMP2 class.

The team had a solid build-up to the race, improving by over a second between FP1 and FP2 and setting the third fastest time in class in the second practice, just a few tenths off the pace-setters - the #74 Riley Oreca and the #04 Crowdstrike by APR Oreca.

Qualifying was in the hands of bronze-rated driver Luis Perez Companc, who had also teamed up with Wadoux in her race-winning campaign in the FIA WEC last year in the LMGTE class. The Argentine clocked a 1:38.153 lap that placed the #88 machine in ninth place, a little over two seconds from pole position.

Perez-Companc was in charge of the first part of the race as the 56-car field accelerated away on Sunday morning.

An incident between the #18 ERA Motorsport LMP2 Oreca and the #81 Dragonspeed Oreca brought out the first caution just a couple of minutes into the race. Behind the wheel of the #88 Richard Mille AF Corse Oreca, Luis Perez Companc managed to avoid contact at the start and slotted into eighth place in LMP2.

Perez Companc displayed good pace, and once the race went back to green, he continued to make up ground, moving up to sixth by lap 12. The Argentine driver then hunted down Robinson in the #74 Riley as he closed in on the top five.

The Cetilar Ferrari was hit by the Crowdstrike Racing by APR LMP2, driven by George Kurtz, which sent the Ferrari 296 hard into the barriers and triggered the second safety car. The LMP2 field pitted under caution, and Luis Perez Companc managed to rejoin in P5. He was then promoted to fourth as a few cars were handed penalties. Kurtz (#04 APR) and Andersen (#20 MDK by High Class Racing) were also penalized for pit stop infringements.

The race resumed as the clock reached the first hour. Perez Companc had another great restart, moving up to P4 and significantly closing in on the #22 United Autosport machine, with pace for a top-three position. The Richard Mille entry moved up to third midway through the second hour, having also reduced the gap to the United car driven by Ben Keating.

After a really strong stint by Luis Perez Companc, the bronze-rated driver pitted for the second time and handed over to Lilou Wadoux, who took over from third in class with 4 hours and 20 minutes to go. The Ferrari factory driver soon set purple sectors, immediately showing her speed at the wheel of the LMP2 Oreca.

Lilou made a great impression, moving up to second place in class with a really strong pace.

A full course yellow was deployed after the Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier LMP2 hit the barriers at the exit of turn 1. The whole LMP2 field pitted again under caution, and most teams opted to bring in their pro drivers. Lilou Wadoux remained behind the wheel of the #88 Richard Mille Oreca, holding second place with 3 hours and 30 minutes left on the clock as the race went back to green.

Lilou Wadoux, Richard Mille AF Corse LMP2 Oreca, Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen, IMSA, 2024, Watkins Glen
Photo credits: IMSA / Jake Galstad

At that point, rain started to fall, making for some tricky conditions. Lilou was unfazed and, with a superb pace, she was catching Tom Dillmann's Intereuropol Oreca, and she would take over the class lead when the latter pitted on lap 84 - in possibly one of Lilou's best LMP2 performances to date, in a field of mostly platinum and gold rated drivers.

The rain picked up significantly, and while half the field managed to pit for wets, a big crash for the #55 Proton Mustang driven by Giammarco Levorato brought out the safety car.

Lilou navigated through extremely difficult conditions but always kept her cool, leading the LMP2 category and proving she was the class of the field.

Having retained the lead, the Richard Mille AF Corse crew opted to pit just as the race went back to green, with Nicklas Nielsen now behind the wheel in eighth place.

Unfortunately, the rain started to intensify again as soon as the race resumed. Sarah Bovy went wide into turn 10, slipping on the kerb, and hit the inside wall hard. After 94 laps, the Iron Dames Lamborghini was out of the race.

When a couple of LMP2 cars pitted, Nielsen stayed out and climbed to sixth, continuing to close in on the cars ahead. He cycled back to third as the next pit cycle approached.

The weather continued to be unpredictable: the heaviest showers hit the track, and a big shunt for the Forte Racing Lamborghini brought out the next full course yellow, with several LMP2 and GTD cars slipping off the track in almost undrivable conditions.

By the time the FCY was out, Nielsen was leading again in LMP2, as the team had perfectly called the tyre strategy as the rain hit the pitwall. With conditions deteriorating, the red flag was inevitably deployed with a little over an hour to go.

After a lengthy interruption, the track dried up, and cars got back underway behind the safety car with 40 minutes left on the clock. Several cars gambled on slicks.

After the pass around, the Richard Mille Racing Oreca took the green flag from the lead in class, ahead of Felipe Fraga's #74 Riley and Ben Hanley's United Autosports Oreca. Fraga went for a move and made contact with Nielsen, but the Dane survived the collision and Fraga spun, collecting Hanley in the process.

Nielsen found himself with a 7-second margin in the lead, with Colin Braun's #04 Crowdstrike by APR now in second. With 10 minutes to go, Nielsen was significantly faster than Braun and continued to extend his lead: as the white flag waved, he had opened a whopping 35-second gap to the closest pursuer.

The #88 Oreca crossed the finish line 41 seconds ahead, rounding out a flawless performance from all three drivers. After becoming the first woman to win a race in the FIA WEC, Lilou Wadoux continued to make history, becoming the first woman to take a race victory in a prototype class of IMSA in the modern era - and the first woman globally to secure victory in LMP2 since 2014, when Keiko Ihara took a class win in the Asian Le Mans Series at Fuji.

With speed and consistency, Wadoux moved from third into the lead in her stint, then survived the most tricky stage of the race, with sudden weather changes that caught out several experienced drivers. Nevertheless, Lilou never set a foot wrong and was crucially instrumental in her team's victory.

Her focus will now switch to another sports car classic: the 24 Hours of Spa, whcih she will contest in a week's time with Tempesta Racing, sharing the #93 Ferrari 296 GT3 with Eddie Cheever, Chris Froggatt and Jonathan Hui.



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