2018 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship
The highest level of endurance sports car racing in North America is the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.
The Championship has three classes of car competing within the same race:
- Prototype: For DPi and LMP2 cars, all Pro drivers;
- GTLM: GT cars identical to those in WEC’s GTE Pro class, all Pro drivers;
- GTD: GT3-class machinery, Pro-Am class, entries must have at least one non-Pro driver;
Races include the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, Petit Le Mans and a host of shorter races at such iconic tracks as Long Beach, Road America and Laguna Seca.
It also includes the North American Endurance Cup (NAEC), which is scored as a separate competition made up of the four longest races: Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans.
For more championships click here.
*As at 2 January 2018*
2018 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship
- Prototype: 10 races;
- GTLM: 11 races;
- GTD: 11 races;
|27 Jan||Rolex 24 at Daytona||P, GTLM, GTD||Daytona International Speedway||Daytona, Florida||USA|
|17 Mar||Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring||P, GTLM, GTD||Sebring||Sebring, Florida||USA|
|14 Apr||Bubba Burger Sportscar GP||P, GTLM||Long Beach||Long Beach, California||USA|
|6 May||Mid-Ohio||P, GTLM, GTD||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||Lexington, Ohio||USA|
|2 Jun||Chevrolet Detroit GP||P, GTD||Belle Isle||Detroit, Michigan||USA|
|1 Jul||Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen||P, GTLM, GTD||Watkins Glen International||Watkins Glen, New York||USA|
|8 Jul||Canadian Tire Mosport Park||P, GTLM, GTD||Canadian Tire Motorsports Park||Bowmanville, Ontario||Canada|
|21 Jul||Northeast GP||GTLM, GTD||Lime Rock Park||Lakeville, Connecticut||USA|
|5 Aug||Continental Tire Road Race Showcase||P, GTLM, GTD||Road America||Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin||USA|
|19 Aug||Michelin GT Challenge||GTLM, GTD||Virginia International Raceway||Alton, Virginia||USA|
|9 Sep||Continental Tire Monterey GP||P, GTLM, GTD||Laguna Seca||Salinas, California||USA|
|13 Oct||Motul Petit Le Mans||P, GTLM, GTD||Road Atlanta||Braselton, Georgia||USA|
Returning or New:
- Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio.
- Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas.
- The Prototype Challenge class.
- GTD will not visit Long Beach.
There is one change of venue, the much-missed Mid-Ohio makes a very welcome return.
It is unfortunate to have to lose COTA, the races there were good even if the rule-makers were quite liberal with the officiating of track limits!
The PC class has been killed off. It was a great class 7 or 8 years ago and added a lot, but after some recent weak seasons it was overdue to be retired. And with plenty of full-season entries in the top Prototype class there is no longer a need for a ‘baby’ class to support it. Instead, a support race series has been renamed as Prototype Challenge and their races extended from 45 minutes to 120 minutes.
The only other change is that GTD will not visit Long Beach, making 2017 a one-off for that class at the street track. That race ended in a bit of a crash-up for the GTD’s, but I don’t think it is fair to punish them for it. Personally I think GTD should have a separate race at Long Beach and ditch PWC from the meeting instead, but I’m just being selfish because I can’t watch PWC races in the UK.
Unchanged are the other ‘split’ races:
Belle Isle will feature Prototypes and GTD cars. The GTLM entries get a pass as Le Mans Test Day falls on the same weekend – bad luck if you have an LMP2 car and want to go to Le Sarthe.
Lime Rock and Virginia International Raceway will again be GT festivals, for GTLM & GTD cars, as they successfully have been now for a few years.
There are two major support championships for which I provide calendars and I’ll cover those together in another blog post tomorrow, these are:
- IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge – for GT4, TCR and ST cars.
- IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda – for LMP3 and MPC cars.
IMSA also sanctions many high profile one-make series including the Ferrari Challenge North America, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, Porsche Challenge USA and Porsche Challenge Canada. I do not offer calendars for these series but the dates are available to view at www.imsa.com.