TUDOR Championship makes schedule tweaks, sets tentative car count caps

1 Comment

Covering sports car racing is a challenge because of the various regulations, classes, requirements for drivers and other extenuating circumstances. But, because of the variety offered, particularly compared to single-spec stock car and open-wheel series, I dig my sports car fix.

However, sometimes, you can easily get confused.

I don’t think it was the intent of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship to make things even more confusing than they already are with the intricacies of putting together series and ideologies (GRAND-AM Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series) about as far apart as the divide in Washington.

But today’s press release with schedule updates and announcing tentative car capacities has made its best effort to make things more convoluted.

Kansas Speedway has been added as a 13th race weekend for the TUDOR Championship, which is something of a surprise. It will hold a PC class race on June 7. Earlier Friday, the track itself released details of Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, IMSA Cooper Tire Prototype Lites and IMSA Porsche GT3 Challenge races there to be held that day, but said nothing of a TUDOR Championship race.

The PC class will, if I’m reading the press release correctly, run “doubleheader sprint races” at both Kansas June 7 and Virginia International Raceway August 24, “alongside” Prototype Lites. That would be unprecedented if the PC class ORECA FLM09 chassis race alongside the Panoz DP02s, which run in Prototype Lites.

Where PC gets shafted is that it loses the Detroit and Mosport rounds it was already promised, and announced with the rest of the 2014 schedule at the Circuit of the Americas weekend in Austin in September.

IMSA series officials have said repeatedly throughout this process that there was “one chance to get the schedule right,” and so after what was a very good, by most accounts, full schedule release at COTA, we now have a Friday afternoon where the schedule’s been changed. Go figure.

The above copy doesn’t even get into the tentative car count capacity, projected for each race. IMSA officials have outlined the below numbers as tentative caps in the four classes, and rather than repeat them in words, I’ll just list them below.

Date Location

Class

Car Cap

Class

Car Cap

Jan. 25-26 Daytona

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Mar. 15 Sebring

P

PC

20

10

GTLM

GTD

14

19

Apr. 12 Long Beach

P

20

GTLM

16

May 4 Monterey

P

20

GTLM

12

May 4 Monterey

PC

10

GTD

19

May 31 Detroit

P

20

GTD

21

Jun. 1 LM24

Test Day

Jun. 7 Kansas

PC

10

Jun. 14-15 LM24

LM24

Jun. 29 Watkins Glen

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Jul. 13 Mosport

P

19

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Jul. 25 Indianapolis

P

PC

20

10

GTLM

GTD

14

19

Aug. 10 Rd. America

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Aug. 24 VIR

PC

10

Aug. 24 VIR

GTLM

19

GTD

19

Sept. 20 COTA

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Oct. 4 Petit

P

PC

19

10

GTLM

GTD

12

19

Not to be outdone, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge schedule has also been announced. It will follow the TUDOR Championship to most events, with the standalones at Lime Rock Park May 24 (the Saturday before the Indianapolis 500) and also, with the PC race at Kansas June 7.

Complicating matters further is that next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will directly conflict with two parts of the TUDOR Championship calendar. The test day is June 1 and scrutineering, technical inspection, begins June 7.

So, that’s where we stand at the close of business this Friday afternoon.

2014 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Schedule
Date    Venue
Jan 24  Daytona International Speedway
Mar 14  Sebring International Raceway
May 3   Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
May 24  Lime Rock Park
Jun 7   Kansas Speedway
Jun 28  Watkins Glen International
Jul 12  Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Jul 25  Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug 9   Road America
Aug 23  Virginia International Raceway
Sep 20  Circuit of The Americas
Oct 3   Road Atlanta

Al Unser Jr. to race Pikes Peak Hill Climb for first time in 29 years

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is coming out of retirement to race again.

Unser Jr., who turns 56 on April 19, will compete in the 96th Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 24. It will be the first time Unser has raced at Pikes Peak in 29 years, since the 1989 event.

Unser won the Hill Climb and was named “King of the Mountain” in the 1983 event.

Unser said in 2007 that he was retiring from racing and had no plans to race in the future. However, he has taken part since then in some selected vintage racing events.

Speaking of vintage cars, Unser is slated to drive a 1936 Chevrolet Sedan in this year’s Hill Climb, according to race organizers.

He’ll compete with a number of luminaries including eight-time Hill Climb winner Paul Dallenbach; Layne Schranz, who will be competing in his 25th “Race to the Clouds”; 23-time champion Clint Vahsholtz; 25-time Hill Climb competitor David Schmidt II and three-time Climb winner Spencer Steele.

Unser recently returned to IndyCar racing as a consultant with Harding Racing, which is beginning its first full season in the series with Gabby Chaves behind the wheel.