IMSA announces 2023 schedules in State Of The Sport

Road America is a big weekend for IMSA. This is the only sprint weekend of the year in which all five classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race together. This is also the weekend when announcements for the upcoming season are made. IMSA President John Doonan delivered the State of the Sport Address Friday, Aug. 5 at the Tufte Center on the Road America property. A series of announcements were made.

2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule revealed

Probably the biggest announcement made during the presentation was the announcement of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule. There are 11 rounds on the schedule, up from 12 this year.

The only addition to the schedule is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which was already announced last Friday at a press conference during the joint NASCAR/INDYCAR race weekend. The IMSA Battle on the Bricks will be a 160-minute sprint race for all five classes on September 17. This race will replace Mid-Ohio on the calendar.

Additionally, Detroit was removed from the schedule. 2022 is the final year of the race at Belle Isle Park. Next year, the event will return to downtown Detroit for the first time since 1991.

As for the class mix at events, six of the 11 rounds (the four Michelin Endurance Cup races, plus Road American and Indianapolis) will have all five classes in action, up from five in 2022. Lime Rock and VIR will remain GT – only events.

The new GTP class will compete in nine events, the six with all classes, plus Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. GTD Pro and GTD will be in action in all 11 races. LMP2 and LMP3 each have seven racing seasons, including the six with everyone, plus one additional race. LMP2 teams will be at Laguna Seca, while LMP3 teams will travel to CTMP.

2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule

Appointment Track6 Event Classes Length
20 – 22 Jan. Daytona International Speedway ROAR before the 24th, including the Rolex 24 qualifying race All 100 Minutes (Qualifying Race)
Jan 27 – 29 Daytona International Speedway Rolex 24 at Daytona All 24 hours
March 15 – 18 Sebring International Circuit Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring All 12 hours
April 14 – 15 Streets of Long Beach Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach GTP, GTD Pro, GTD 100 minutes
May 12 – 14 WeatherTech Laguna Seca Tour n / A GTP, LMP2, GTD Pro, GTD 160 minutes
June 22 – 25 Watkins Glen International Six hours from Sahlen to the Glen All 6 hours
July 7 – 9 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park n / A GTP, LMP3, GTD Pro, GTD 160 minutes
July 21 – 22 Lime Rock Park North East Grand Prix GTD Pro, GTD 160 minutes
August 4 – 6 Road America n / A All 160 minutes
August 25 – 27 Virginia International Racetrack Michelin GT Challenge at VIR All 160 minutes
15 – 17 Sept. Indianapolis Motor Speedway n / A All 160 minutes
11 – 14 Oct. Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta Motul Petit Le Mans All 10 hours

In GTD, there will only be one championship in play in 2023. The WeatherTech Sprint Cup, based on calendar sprint races, has been discontinued. There has been a low turnout in the sprint championship this season, as only one team (Rick Ware Racing) has committed to the sprint schedule this year.

There will be no changes to driver eligibility in classes in 2023, quashing rumors of a possible Bronze driver requirement in the GTD class. That said, Doonan noted that IMSA continues to seek additional incentives for Bronze-rated drivers.

In the GTP class, a new fuel from VP Racing Fuels, R80, will be used next year. It is a new formulation made from renewable sources that replaces the current E-20C fuel (unleaded fuel with 20% ethanol). Additionally, to reduce tire changes, a new tire will be used that will be capable of double stints. That, combined with increased fuel economy with the new hybrid engines, will likely mean there will be only one tire change for GTP cars in next year’s sprint races and potentially none at Long Beach. .

Michelin is currently developing tires built mostly with renewable materials, similar to what Firestone is trying to develop for INDYCAR. There is no official schedule at the moment, but IMSA wants to be able to race on it at some point in the future.

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge reintroduces sprint heats for 2023

The schedule for the 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge was also unveiled on Friday. The series will have 11 rounds in 2023, but the Grand Sport and TCR classes will only appear in 10 each.

Nine of the rounds will feature both classes. These are Daytona, Sebring, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, CTMP, Road America, VIR, Indianapolis and Road Atlanta. The TCR class will race alone at Lime Rock in July.

The Grand Sport class will head to Detroit in June to race on the new downtown Detroit circuit as part of the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit. This will be the first Michelin Pilot Challenge race that has not been on the undercard of a WeatherTech race since Lime Rock in 2014.

Nine of the 11 races will last two hours. The season opener at Daytona will remain a four-hour race. The second four-hour race, as announced last Friday, will move from Road America to Indianapolis as part of the IMSA Battle On The Bricks.

Calendar of the 2023 IMSA Michelin Driver Challenge

Appointment Track Race Classes Length
20 – 22 Jan. Daytona International Speedway ROAR before the 24th Both N/A (test sessions)
Jan 25 – 27 Daytona International Speedway BMW M Endurance Challenge Both 4 hours
March 15 – 17 Sebring International Circuit Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 Both 2 hours
May 13 – 14 WeatherTech Laguna Seca Tour WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 Both 2 hours
June 2 – 3 The streets of Detroit N / A Big Sport 2 hours
June 22 – 24 Watkins Glen International N / A Both 2 hours
July 7 – 8 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120 Both 2 hours
July 21 – 22 Lime Rock Park Lime Rock Park TCR 2 hours
August 3 to 5 Road America Route America 120 Both 2 hours
August 25 – 27 Virginia International Racetrack Virginia is for Grand Prix racing fans Both 2 hours
15 – 16 Sept. Indianapolis Motor Speedway N / A Both 4 hours
11 – 13 Oct. Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta FOX Factory 120 Both 2 hours

Unveiling of the first IMSA VP SportsCar Challenge

IMSA has unveiled the format and partial schedule for the first VP SportsCar Challenge. This will be a new series of sprints for LMP3 and GT4 cars which was announced in July to replace the IMSA Prototype Challenge in 2023.

The series season kicks off the weekend of March 12-13 at Sebring International Raceway. It’s not during SuperSebring weekend. Instead, mainly due to space constraints in the paddock, the season-opening round will take place at the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship Prologue test.

Additional rounds will take place during WeatherTech race weekends at Laguna Seca, CTMP, VIR and Road Atlanta. There will also be a sixth round. However, the location of this sixth round is to be determined.

The rounds of the VP SportsCar Challenge will consist of two races of 45 minutes each. No scheduled pit stops will take place. If you stop, you’re probably in trouble.

IMSA Diverse Driver Scholarship Nominees Revealed

Doonan also revealed the seven finalists for the 2023 IMSA Diverse Driver Scholarship during the State of the Sport Address. These drivers are vying for a purse worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. All benefits can be found here.

There are four returning candidates. They are Sebastian Carazo, Saber Cook, Courtney Crone and Kyle Loh.

Cook is an engineer by trade but has also raced extensively, most recently in the W series, where she competed in the 2019 and 2021 seasons. She has not raced this year so far due to a hip injury suffered last season.

Crone is currently competing full-time in the IMSA Prototype Challenge for Jr III Motorsports. She is eighth in points with a best finish of fifth at Daytona in January.

Carazo is currently racing full-time in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America for Precision Performance Motorsports alongside Bryan Ortiz. The pair are currently second in the Pro-Am class with wins at NOLA Motorsports Park in May and Watkins Glen International in June.

Loh is currently part of the HPD Drivers Academy, a program run by Honda Performance Development and Racers Edge Motorsports in which up-and-coming racers get the chance to try out an Acura NSX GT3. Drivers who have gone through this program in the past include Taylor Hagler and Jacob Abel.

Three new candidates join them. Brad Perez comes from the ranks of Spec Miata, worked as a tire specialist in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and is an instructor at the BMW Performance Center. Additionally, Perez made two starts in the Camping World Truck Series for Reaume Brothers Racing at Circuit of the Americas and Sonoma Raceway, finishing 20th and 22nd respectively.

Bryson Lew is coming to the competition from SRO America. He raced part-time last year for Samantha Tan Racing in a Pirelli GT4 America SprintX in a BMW M4 GT4. Prior to that, he competed in TC America’s TC class for Fast Track Racing.

Finally, there is Cameron Parsons, the oldest driver in the group at 34 years old. Parsons primarily competed in club-level events, but competed in the Trans-Am West Coast Championship.


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