IMSA regulations reveal key refinements for 2019
IMSA’s sporting regulations for 2019, which were motivated by the introduction of the LMP2 class and changes to the GT Daytona class in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, have now been released.
The announcement follows on from August’s ‘State of the Series’ presentation at Road America, which revealed that the WeatherTech Championship is set to expand to four classes in 2019, along with Daytona Prototype international cars racing exclusively in the top class and LMP2 moving to its own Pro-Am class, alongside the longstanding GTLM class designed for Pro racers and the Pro-Am GTD class. That expansion along with August’s announcement of the new IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup, created the need for new regulations.
Among the regulations that have been developed for the 2019 season are:
- LMP2 and GTD teams both will be required to have a Silver- or Bronze-rated driver in the lineup for each car.
- Any Silver-rated driver that is new to the WeatherTech Championship will be subject to approval by the IMSA Driver Evaluation Committee before a team’s entry will be accepted.
- On each event weekend, there will be an exclusive practice session prior to qualifying for Bronze- and Silver-rated drivers in the GTD class.
- Bronze- or Silver-rated drivers will be required to qualify and start the race in the LMP2 and GTD classes.
- The season-ending Jim Trueman and Bob Akin Awards for the top Pro-Am driver in the LMP2 (Trueman) and GTD (Akin) classes will be awarded to the highest-placed eligible driver in the season-ending point standings. In previous years, Trueman and Akin award winners were determined by a formula that included laps and miles driven in addition to overall finishing positions.
- IMSA will specify the number of drivers required in each LMP2 and GTD entry in 2019. For all sprint races, each entry will be required to have two drivers with a maximum of one Platinum- or Gold-rated driver. For the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans, each LMP2 and GTD car will be required to use a three-driver combination with a maximum of one Platinum- or Gold-rated driver. For the Rolex 24 At Daytona, LMP2 and GTD teams may use four-or five-driver combinations, with a maximum of one Platinum- and one Gold-rated driver or a maximum of two Gold-rated drivers.
- LMP2 and GTD entries will be limited to four days of private testing per entry in 2019.
- The GTD class will only participate in the first two days of the Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona test on Jan. 4-5, 2019. The Roar will be the only IMSA-sanctioned test in 2019.
Away from the regulations pertaining LMP2 and GTD, the DPi and GTLM class will see a reduction in private testing to eight days per entry in 2018, and in addition, the Michelin Tyres used by all WeatherTech Champion cars will be equipped with RFID chips to track tyre usage and allocation per entry at all events.
In the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge meanwhile, modifications include the shift to Michelin tyres for all Grand Sport and Touring Car racers, while the Street Tuner class will be discontinued. The series will also introduce leader lights that are set to be implemented in a similar manner to those used in the WeatherTech Championship. The series will also require all cars to start on the same marked tyres it used in qualification, and also adhere to a limited allocation of tyres.
Finally, the minimum pit stop time in the IMSA prototype challenge will be reduced from the current four-minutes to two minutes 30 seconds, and all fuelling will be required to be done by autonomous tanks, so dump cans will no longer be permitted.
“Between the completion of a successful 2018 season last month and next week’s Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring, our team here at IMSA has hit another key target with the distribution of our 2019 Sporting and Technical Regulations,” said IMSA vice president, competition Simon Hodgson. “This is a direct response to our stakeholders’ expectations, who now will be armed with all the information they need to make their plans to participate in 2019.”