The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is set to reprise its now well-established schedule with the same dozen circuits visited again for the coming season. IMSA President Scott Atherton’s “State of the Sport” presentation at Road America confirmed too that all 12 events will be held within a week or less of their 2019 event date.
(The Pilot Challenge schedule was also released, details on that can be found at the bottom.)
“We’ve said it numerous times in the past, but one of the strongest attributes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship continues to be the 12 events, facilities and promoter partners that make up our schedule each year,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton.
“There isn’t much in the way of ‘breaking news’ as it relates to our 2020 calendar, it’s the same 12 races on largely the same weekends as in 2019, but that speaks to the strength of those events and the date equity we’ve earned over the past several years.”
The 2020 season will open with the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona on the famed 3.56-mile, Daytona International Speedway circuit, on the weekend of Jan. 23/26. Television coverage of the Rolex 24 will be carried on a combination of the NBC network, as well as NBCSN. In addition to kicking off the 12-race 2020 WeatherTech Championship season, the Rolex 24 also will launch the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup season.
All four WeatherTech Championship classes, Daytona Prototype international (DPi), LMP2, GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) will be eligible to compete at Daytona. However, the race will not count toward points for the LMP2 class to aid those teams in reducing their operating budgets.
The same four classes will be back in action at the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on the traditional, third full weekend in March for Round 2 of both the WeatherTech Championship and the Michelin Endurance Cup.
The Sebring event weekend is March 18/21 with NBCSN and CNBC television coverage.
The WeatherTech Championship DPi and GTLM classes then head west for the annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach event weekend on April 17/18 and will air on NBCSN. Both the Sebring and Long Beach events will be one weekend later than they were in 2019.
All four classes will reunite at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the weekend of May 1/3 with television coverage on NBCSN. This event also kicks off the seven-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup season for the GTD class, which debuted in 2019.
The DPi and GTD machines then head for the Motor City on the weekend of May 29/30 for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic as part of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. The race, which will be televised on NBCSN, will count toward WeatherTech Championship points for the DPi class, while it only will count toward Sprint Cup points for GTD, as was the case for the first time this year.
Watkins Glen International retains its traditional midsummer spot on the calendar for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen event weekend on June 25/28 with NBCSN coverage. The race wraps up the first half of the WeatherTech Championship schedule while at the same time kicking off the second half of the Michelin Endurance Cup season.
On the following weekend, July 3/5, the DPi, GTLM and GTD machines make the annual trek north of the border to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on NBCSN. The LMP2 class, which participated at CTMP in 2019, will take this weekend off in 2020.
Next up will be the first of two GT-only races as the GTLM and GTD classes step into the spotlight at Lime Rock Park on July 17/18 with NBCSN coverage. All four WeatherTech Championship classes then will reunite two weeks later at Road America on the weekend of July 31/Aug. 2. Owing to NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the race will be televised on CNBC.
VIRginia International Raceway hosts the second and final GT-only event on the season on the weekend of Aug. 21/23 with NBCSN coverage. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will feature all four classes on the weekend of Sept. 11/13 for the penultimate round of the WeatherTech Championship, as well as the WeatherTech Sprint Cup season finale. It will be televised on the NBC network.
Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta once again will close out both the WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Endurance Cup season with 10 hours of racing on Oct. 7/10. A combination of NBC network and NBCSN coverage is planned.
In addition to the race schedules, IMSA also confirmed that the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona will be held on the weekend of Jan. 3/5, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway. The test will be mandatory for all Rolex 24 participants, but GTD teams only will participate on the first two days, Jan. 3/4 as was the case in 2019. For the second consecutive year, there will be no IMSA-sanctioned testing other than the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule
January 23-26 – Rolex 24 At Daytona (24 hours) DPi, LMP2*, GTLM, GTD (Endurance Cup Event, no points for LMP2 class)
March 18-21 – Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (12 hours) DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD (Endurance Cup Event)
April 17-18 – Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (100 minutes) DPi, GTLM
May 1-3 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2 hrs 40 min) DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD (Sprint Cup Event)
May 29-30 – Chevrolet Sports Car Classic (100 minutes) DPi, GTD (Sprint Cup Event, only counts toward 2020 Sprint Cup points for GTD class)
June 25-28 – Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (6 hours) DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD (Endurance Cup Event)
July 3-5 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (2 hrs 40 min) DPi, GTLM, GTD (Sprint Cup Events)
July 17-18 – Lime Rock Park (2 hrs 40 min) GTLM, GTD (WeatherTech Sprint Cup Event)
July 31 – Aug 2 – Road America (2 hrs 40 min) DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD (Sprint Cup Event)
August 21-23 – VIRginia International Raceway (2 hrs 40 min) GTLM, GTD (Sprint Cup Event)
September 11-13 – WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (2 hrs 40 min) DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD (Sprint Cup Event)
October 7-10 – Motul Petit Le Mans (10 hours) DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD (Endurance Cup Event)
Pilot Challenge calendar unchanged too
The IMSA WeatherTech-supporting Michelin Pilot Challenge calendar was also revealed at the conference.
All 10 events once again will run as a companion to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, generally as the headline event on the second day of each three-day race weekend.
“The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge has seen a significant amount of evolution over the past several years, from the adoption of international technical regulations to the introduction of a new tire and series entitlement partner,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton.
“Those core elements provided us with a new foundation and have gotten us to where we are now, with a full grid of terrific sports cars, teams and drivers participating in one of the most competitive, stable and professional championships in North America.”
Pilot Challenge schedule (all races two hours unless noted):
January 24th — Daytona International Speedway, 4 hours
March 20th — Sebring International Raceway
May 2nd — Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
June 27th — Watkins Glen International, 4 Hours
July 4th — Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
July 18th — Lime Rock Park
August 1st — Road America
August 22nd — Virginia International Raceway
September 12th — WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
October 9th — Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta