TUDOR Championship makes schedule tweaks, sets tentative car count caps

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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

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).