IMSA joins NASCAR in strengthening rules about drivers leaving cars after wrecks

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The IMSA-sanctioned TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series is the second major motorsports series to implement new – or strengthen enforcement of existing – rules on drivers leaving their cars after on-track incidents.

TUDOR is following NASCAR’s lead, which reaffirmed and strengthened its existing rules after the Aug. 9 tragic incident that claimed the life of Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint car race in upstate New York.

Ward had been involved in a wreck with NASCAR star Tony Stewart, exited his car and came down the track, where he was accidentally struck by Stewart’s car and suffered fatal injuries.

The TUDOR series is now mandating that drivers remain in their cars until safety crews arrive on-scene. The only exception to that is if “personal safety is at risk,” such as fire or the threat of additional vehicles piling into the original wreck.

IMSA’s new Rule 48.5.1 officially states:

DISABLED CARS. During an Event, if a Car is involved in an incident and/or is stopped on or near the Racing surface and unable to continue to make forward progress, unless extenuating emergency conditions exist with the Car (i.e. fire, smoke in cockpit, etc.), the Driver should take the following steps as a Full Course Yellow is declared:

  • Communicate the condition of the Driver and Car to Officials where possible;
  • Shut off electrical power;
  • Do not loosen, disconnect or remove any Driver personal safety equipment until directed to do so by Officials;
  • After being directed to exit the Car, Driver should proceed as directed by Officials;
  • A Driver must not approach any portion of the Racing surface; A Driver must not approach another moving vehicle.

48.5.2. DRIVER EGRESS.

A Driver exiting a Car stopped in a location away from the Racing surface should first communicate the condition of the Driver and Car to Officials where possible, shut off electrical power, and only move directly to a protected location behind a wall, other barrier, or as directed, and must not approach the Racing surface or other moving vehicles.

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The Callaway Corvette GT3 is coming to America, in PWC

Photo: Callaway Competition USA
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Pirelli World Challenge has been in need of some good news from a car count standpoint early into this offseason, and receives it Monday with confirmation Callaway Competition will bring its GT3-spec homologated Corvette C7 GT3-R Stateside next season.

The withdrawal of the factory Cadillac Racing program after PWC’s season finale in Sonoma in September has opened the door for the factory-blessed Corvette C7 GT3-R to run in North America, because Cadillac’s ATS-V.R has been the lone GT3-spec car under the General Motors awning for the last three seasons, while the Callaway Corvette has raced only internationally.

Reeves Callaway has been on site at the tail end of the PWC season to survey the opportunity and now a deal has been struck for a factory effort to run next year, before the Callaway Corvette program becomes a customer effort in 2019. This follows the same timeline as Acura did with its new NSX GT3 this year to run it as a factory program in 2017 before shifting to customer efforts in 2018.

“Joining the Pirelli World Challenge has been a long term objective for Callaway Competition,” Callaway said in a release. “Now the field is a roll-call of the most capable sports cars from every country. To do well here, you must beat the best in the world. What better way to showcase our iconic American car?

“For 2018, we will run a Callaway factory team to give us the best chance of continuing the championship record the Corvette has achieved in international competition. For 2019, we will not race against our customers, but provide high-quality support to them in the tradition of other manufacturer customer racing support programs.”

“For several years fans have asked when they would see the Callaway Corvette GT3 run in the Pirelli World Challenge,” added Greg Gill, President and CEO of Pirelli World Challenge. “The wait is over and we are very pleased to announce the arrival of the Callaway Corvette GT3 for the 2018 season.”

The Callaway Competition USA Corvette C7 GT3-R will be unveiled and both full season drivers announced at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis on December 7 at the Pirelli World Challenge booth. Following the unveiling event, the car will be on display for the remainder of the trade show. Details of the presentation will be announced in the coming weeks.

Callaway’s confirmation comes amidst the likely drawdown of potentially nine or 10 cars that raced in PWC’s GT and GTA ranks either all season or most of it in 2017, among at least five manufacturers. That’s not to say those losses can’t be recouped elsewhere on the grid, over the next several months before the St. Petersburg season opener in March.

PWC will hold its annual state of the series and competitor meeting to finalize the next year’s plans at the PRI show as well.