Sources in North America have confirmed that the post IMSA season Sportscar Encore meeting at Sebring International Raceway will add an additional, as yet unannounced, race to their previously confirmed four-hour race for LMP3, GT3, GT4 and TCR global specification race cars and Pro-Am driver lineups.
The race meeting is part of a major ramping up of Michelin’s logistics, technical and customer support ahead of 2019 season when they will replace Continental Tire as the sole supplier for IMSA’a Prototype nd GTD classes, plus a number of support Series.
The new additional race will see a pair of 40 minute single driver sprint races added for GTLM (GTE) cars. For the first time ever these races will see the cars run essentially unrestricted with no Balance of Performance measures applied and no air restrictors or sandbags installed.
The purpose of the races is understood to be related to quality assurance for 2018 spec WEC/ IMSA GTLM/ GTE tyres, expanding the performance envelope of the cars and putting the tyres under significantly greater than normal pressure. The status of Sebring as a well stablished test venue for most of the GTLM manufacturers means that they are already well equipped with baseline data and should allow more certainty to the performance they can expect from their cars in unrestricted form.
Support for the proposed race is understood to be high amongst current GTLM teams and manufacturers, all of whom are keen to show ACO rulemakers that their machinery is capable of running at much improved pace than their current BoP-equipped versions allow.
Michelin were tight lipped when approached by DSC for comment but one insider did offer that: “I really, really hope that’s true!”
DSC Ed: This was, of course, part of DSC’s April 1st offering this year!