The 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule unveiled yesterday again sees IMSA’s premier product with a 12 event calendar.
As announced some time ago the 2018 season sees the Championship adopt a three class structure with the LMPC Oreca finally parked after fulfilling a vital role in boosting grid numbers from 2010 and through into the unified era.
The Prototype (P) class includes Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and LM P2, GT Le Mans (GTLM) and the GT Daytona (GTD) class for GT3 race cars remain.
“The 2018 WeatherTech Championship schedule again showcases the stability of our platform, while at the same time reaffirming our commitment to the best road racing venues and events in North America. And this time offering a few surprises for our fans,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “Each race on our 2018 calendar has a rich history of sports car competition, which we expect to be at an all-time high next season across all three classes.
“The on-track product will include legendary manufacturers and competitors – some of which are returning to IMSA competition in 2018 after a short time away – and we’re confident it will capture the imagination of race fans everywhere.”
The now well established quartet of four Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup events anchor the schedule. The 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona kicks off the season on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27-28, followed by the 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Saturday, March 17, which also completes the season-opening “36 Hours of Florida.”
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen represents the third round of the Patrón Endurance Cup on Sunday, July 1, and the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans will close out both the WeatherTech Championship and Patrón Endurance Cup season on Saturday, Oct. 13, one weekend later than the 2017 event.
e’ve already written here about the return of AMid-Ohio in Lexington, Ohio to the schedule at the expense of CoTA. The two-hour, 40-minute WeatherTech Championship race is scheduled for Sunday, May 6. It will be the first WeatherTech Championship race at Mid-Ohio since the merger of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and America Le Mans Series at the end of the 2013 season. Both series raced there previously.
The Mid-Ohio round and the four Patrón Endurance Cup events represent five of eight races on the 2018 calendar that will feature all three classes. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca are the remaining three races that feature all three IMSA classes in two-hours and 40-minute races.
The 2018 calendar repeats the 2017 pair of 100-minute street circuit events. The BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach on Saturday, April 14, will feature the Prototype and GTLM classes (no GTD in 2018 at Long Beach), while the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park on Saturday, June 2, will include the Prototype and GTD classes (accommodating the Le Mans preparation for the GTLM factory teams opting to travel to France).
Again as in 2017 the GT classes will have two featured events in 2018, both two hours and 40 minutes in length. Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut hosts GTLM and GTD on Saturday, July 21, while VIRginia International Raceway will have its fourth consecutive GT-only round of the WeatherTech Championship on Sunday, Aug. 19.
The 2018 season will kick off with the annual three-day Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona test session on Jan. 5-7. The test is mandatory for all Rolex 24 participants.
2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule
Jan. 5-7 – Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona P/GTLM/GTD Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Florida
Jan. 25-28 – Rolex 24 At Daytona P/GTLM/GT Daytona International Speedway 24 Hours
March 14-17 – Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring P/GTLM/GTD Sebring International Raceway 12 Hours
April 13-14 – BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach P/GTLM Long Beach, California 100 Minutes
May 4-6 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course P/GTLM/GTD 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
June 1-2 – Chevrolet Sports Car Classic P/GTD Belle Isle Park – Detroit, Michigan 100 Minutes
June 28-July 1 – Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen P/GTLM/GTD Watkins Glen International 6 Hours
July 6-8 – Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix P/GTLM/GTD Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 2 Hours, 40 Minutes21
July 20-22 – Northeast Grand Prix GTLM/GTD Lime Rock Park 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Aug. 3-5 – Continental Tire Road Race Showcase P/GTLM/GTD Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Aug. 17-19 – Michelin GT Challenge GTLM/GTD VIRginia International Raceway 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Sept. 7-9 – Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda P/GTLM/GTD Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Oct. 10-13 – Motul Petit Le Mans P/GTLM/GTD Road Atlanta 10 Hours