IMSA announces Mazda Raceway event will be split into two races

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Given there were 54 cars at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, are 49 at this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, and with 41 cars on the full-season entry list for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it’s no surprise to see news out Wednesday that IMSA’s races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May will be split into a pair of two-hour races.

As in 2014, with a bigger field, the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes will be in one race and the Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes will be in another race.

The first race, beginning at 11:15 a.m. PT, will feature the Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes and will be televised live on FS1.

The Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes will be in the spotlight for the second race, beginning at 3:45 p.m. PT with live television coverage on FS2. Both races also will be rebroadcast on FS1.

In addition to the dual races, the classes also will be divided in the same manner for all practice sessions leading up to the race. The P/GTLM and PC/GTD classes each will have three practice sessions prior to qualifying, and each class pairing also will have its own pre-race warm-up on Sunday, May 1.

The list of full-season entries announced back in February was 8 P, 10 GTLM, 7 PC and 16 GTD cars.

That number could ebb or flow by about one or two cars if other partial season entries materialize – the No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 isn’t racing at Sebring but could at Monterey, for example – but generally speaking it should ensure a better traffic flow and better separation on pit lane given the usual maximum there for one race is 36 cars.