Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: CTSC race highlights Friday updates ahead of Rolex 24

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – On a day when there’s only one hour of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship running before tomorrow’s 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona, there’s still a lot going on.

The four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge is in the books, kicking off that series’ season.

Race winners were Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels, overall and in GS, in the No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 over the pair of CJ Wilson Racing Porsches, the No. 33 car (Marc Miller, Till Bechtolsheimer) ahead of the No. 35 car (Damien Faulkner, Russell Ward). In ST, Luis Perocarpi’s LAP Motorsports team secured its first win with the MINI JCW, the No. 73 car driven by Mat Pombo and Derek Jones.

Here’s some of the day’s other activities, and more will be added later:

  • The final practice is complete for the race. Once again, it was a Cadillac DPi-V.R up front, this time Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta entry. Times from the session are linked here. Notable was the effort of the DragonSpeed car to return to the track after overnight repairs building up a new tub, which was completed at 3:30 a.m.
  • IMSA key officials Scott Atherton (President, IMSA) Ed Bennett (CEO, IMSA), David Pettit (Vice President of Marketing, IMSA) and Simon Hodgson (Vice President of Competition, IMSA) were on hand to preview the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. Topics addressed included the premiere of the new cars, planned improvements to FOX Sports’ TV coverage, and the ongoing topic that is Balance of Performance. Atherton said if most manufacturers are all a little upset, it means IMSA is doing its job correctly. Hodgson explained IMSA’s data logging process, with tens of gigabytes of data being gathered to determine whether each car is meeting its ultimate performance.
  • A couple quick news notes: Motul has signed as title sponsor of Motul Petit Le Mans, the season finale race at Road Atlanta in October. IMSA has also announced one of its “Proud Charities,” the Austin Hatcher Foundation, has planned to build a new, permanent headquarters in Chattanooga, Tenn. Joey Hand, the GT Le Mans polesitter for Ford, was presented with the Austin Hatcher Foundation Humanitarian Award for his volunteer work.
  • Various media availabilities followed in the afternoon on what is largely a day for teams to finalize their prep and development work. Of note, the same media scrum that followed Jeff Gordon at previous Daytona tests again followed him today, with Jordan Taylor left to wonder where anyone’s questions were for him.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.