IMSA’s switch to Michelin as official tyre supplier across a number of their support categories (as well as the IWSC) sees the Continental Tire Sportscar Championship rejigged as the Michelin Pilot Challenge for 2019 with a host of other changes including the introduction of leader-light technology and a reduction to two classes.
The two-class format includes the lead Grand Sport (GS) class, which this year began using race cars built to international GT4 technical regulations exclusively and the TCR class, which debuted this year with front-wheel drive, turbocharged race cars governed by international TCR technical regulations. The Street Tuner (ST) class has been discontinued for 2019 as previously planned.
In addition to confirming Michelin as the new entitlement partner and official tyre, the challenge series will introduce the same leader-light technology used by the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2019. All series races will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBCSN as part of IMSA’s new, six-year television partnership with NBC Sports.
The 10-race 2019 schedule takes the series to all of the same top-tier venues it visited in 2018, with eight, two-hour races on the schedule to go with two, four-hour endurance events.
The season kicks off with the first four-hour race at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, Jan. 25 as part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona event weekend before moving to Sebring International Raceway for a two-hour race on Friday, March 15.
From there, it’s on to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the second consecutive year for another two-hour race on Saturday, May 4. Next up is the second and final four-hour race of the season at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, June 29.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park closes out the first half of the season on Saturday, July 6 before the series makes its way to Lime Rock Park on Saturday, July 20. The series makes its annual trek to Wisconsin for the two-hour battle at Road America on Saturday, Aug. 3, followed by VIRginia International Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 24.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge makes its lone west coast appearance in the penultimate round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, Sept. 14 and closes out the year at Road Atlanta as part of the Motul Petit Le Mans event weekend on Friday, Oct. 11.
In addition to tape-delayed coverage on NBCSN, every race again will be streamed live on IMSA.com and the IMSA mobile app.