With only three events left on the calendar this year, the International Motor Sports Association is focusing its attention on next season and beyond. And while the calendars are slated to stay mostly the same, the governing body has reconfigured its various racing classes across three of its main series.
Starting at the top, the flagship WeatherTech series will continue next season with its four classes: Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona. But numerous changes are taking place beneath the surface.
For starters, the top Prototype class will see the introduction of new Daytona Prototype International (DPI) racers to replace the current DPs, competing alongside the Le Mans Prototype 2 racers. The Prototype Challenge class will continue for one more season, but then it’s out, effectively replaced by a reconfigured feeder series (more on that below).
Both the GTLM and GTD classes are slated to gain new entrants homologated to the FIA’s GTE and GT3 regulations, respectively. And the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge is phasing out the existing Grand Sport racers after one more season, replacing them gradually with GT4 competitors certified by the Stephane Ratel Organization that runs the Blancpain Endurance Series, GT4 European Series and British GT Championship.
The Street Tuner class in the Continental series will continue through the end of 2018 while the IMSA discusses the prospect of bringing the Touring Car Racing International Series to North America.
Finally the series currently known as Mazda Prototype Lites presented by Cooper Tires will evolve into the new IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda. The current Prototype Lites L1 class will now compete as the PC2 class, bumping out the existing Prototype Lites L2 racers, while Le Mans Prototype 3 racers will port over as the new PC1 class. All six of the LMP3 chassis approved by the ACO (which runs Le Mans) will be eligible, including those constructed by Dome, Ligier, Riley-Ave, Adress, Ginetta and Norma (pictured in the gallery below). They’ll all be powered by identical V8 engines, requiring no Balance of Performance adjustments.
Both the WeatherTech and Continental series kick off at Daytona in late January. The new Prototype Challenge will join in on the action at Sebring in mid-March. The IMSA also runs and sanctions the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Ferrari Challenge series in North America.