IMSA: Class breakdown revealed through 2016

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IMSA has revealed the class structure breakdown for the next three years. The items of note include the extension of the Prototype Challenge class from 2015 to 2016 and, perhaps more noteworthy, the adopting of full FIA-spec GT3 cars for the GT Daytona class from 2016.

GTD currently operates with modified GT3 platforms, and a spec rear wing and splitter, among other closed elements.

Here’s the release from IMSA:

Officials from the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) today confirmed the structure and specifications for all four of its current TUDOR United SportsCar Championship classes through the 2016 season.

“It is important to all of our stakeholders to have a clear understanding of where the TUDOR Championship is headed from a technical standpoint, which we now have established through 2016,” said IMSA Vice President of Competition and Technical Regulations, Scot Elkins. “This will enable our manufacturers to build race cars with these specifications and timelines in mind, and allow our competitors to make fully informed investment decisions for the future.”

A breakdown of each class is as follows:

Prototype (P)

The Prototype class will continue to consist of Daytona Prototypes, race cars built to LM P2 specifications per rules established by the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO), which governs the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DeltaWing through 2016. Last fall, officials from IMSA, the ACO and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) World Endurance Championship (WEC) jointly announced these Prototype regulations would remain in place for three seasons. A new, globally unified Prototype format for all three organizations will be introduced in 2017, with a planned vehicle life of at least three years (through 2019). The Prototype class will continue to feature predominantly professional driver lineups while also allowing pro/am driver combinations.

GT Le Mans (GTLM)

The GTLM class adheres to GTE specifications established by the ACO. New GTE technical specifications will be introduced for the 2016 season, with a planned vehicle life of at least three years (through 2018). The class, which includes factory-backed teams from many of the most iconic automotive brands in the world, will continue to feature professional driver lineups while continuing to allow pro/am driver combinations.

Prototype Challenge (PC)

The Prototype Challenge class will maintain its current format through 2016, with every team using ORECA FLM09 chassis and 6.2-liter Chevrolet engines. Driver lineups will continue to require a mix of professional and amateur drivers.  Beyond 2016, the class will be further evaluated once the vehicle design, performance levels and cost is finalized for LMP3 and the new Prototype referenced above

GT Daytona (GTD)

The GT Daytona class will utilize its current race cars through 2015. In 2016, the class will adopt full FIA GT3 specifications for all of its cars. Traction control, Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) and the full FIA GT3 aerodynamic specification will be allowed beginning in 2016. An Adjustment of Performance process will be managed through restrictors and weight. Driver lineups in GTD will continue to require a mix of professional and amateur drivers.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).