It has been a topsy turvy week or so in the world of IMSA racing but the story broken last night by Marshall Pruett still ranks as a major shock as the #22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R entry, entered by Alex Job Racing but owned by WeatherTech founder and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title sponsor David MacNeil, was withdrawn from the remainder of the 2016 GTD Championship.
The team statement read: “We have decided to withdrawal (sic) the #22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche for the remainder of the IMSA season,” Alex Job, team owner, said. “The decision to stop racing was rooted purely on performance and the future prospects for the Porsche at the remaining tracks on the 2016 schedule. The conclusion was based upon the performance in direct comparison to the competition over the past eight GTD races and the possible variations of how the BOP (balance of performance) could playout over the next three races with our engineering team and IMSA.”
David MacNeil, founder and CEO of WeatherTech, remains committed to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: “This is a competition decision as it relates to the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche team in IMSA,” MacNeil said. “We make marketing decisions based upon what is best for our business. We are still the presenting sponsor of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and we are committed to growing the sport now and into the future.”
IMSA responded to the move with: “IMSA was recently informed of the decision to suspend participation of the #22 Alex Job Racing entry in GTD class competition of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. One of the most significant and defining elements of sports car racing is the variety of cars, brands and technologies within our highly competitive GT categories.
“The IMSA Technical Committee was established to professionally manage the complex Balance of Performance (BoP) process to ensure fair and close competition among the many participating brands and teams. The committee operates with a transparent, data-driven process which closely analyzes both actual race performance and related observation factors.
“We are disappointed the No. 22 car will not be competing at our next event, but remain committed to our ongoing process.”
The move appears to be directly linked to an ongoing spat over the Balance of Performance dealt to the Porsche with no changes dealt for the three GTD Porsches for the next round at VIR in 10 days time. The team had also made a driver change for the Road America race last time out with Porsche Junior driver Sven Müller replacing Leh Keen after “an undisclosed off-track issue”.
It is believed that the #22 car may emerge as an entrant for the remaining rounds of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge.
The second Alex Job run Porsche, the #23 Heart of Racing/ Team Seattle 911 GT3-R is unaffected by the decision.