IMSA reveals 2018 WeatherTech, Continental, Porsche schedules

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – The 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule has been revealed on Friday, with only a couple changes from this year.

As announced last week, the series’ return to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course takes place May 4-6, replacing Circuit of The Americas on the calendar.

The other change sees the GT Daytona class drop a round of the season, going from 12 races to 11, and drops the Long Beach race from the calendar. That reverts the race back to just the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes.

With just three classes in 2018, the Prototype Challenge class set to come to an end in two races, most WeatherTech Championship events will have all classes in action. The GT-only races at Lime Rock Park and VIRginia International Raceway continue and the Detroit street race will be just Prototype and GT Daytona.

“The 2018 WeatherTech Championship schedule again showcases the stability of our platform, while at the same time reaffirming our commitment to the best road racing venues and events in North America. And this time offering a few surprises for our fans,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “Each race on our 2018 calendar has a rich history of sports car competition, which we expect to be at an all-time high next season across all three classes.”

All four Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races continue as well.

The WeatherTech Championship schedule is below:

The 2018 season will kick off with the annual three-day Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona test session on Jan. 5-7. The test is mandatory for all Rolex 24 participants.

2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule

Date: Event / Venue, Classes / Duration

  • Jan. 5-7: Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona, P/GTLM/GTD, Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Jan. 25-28:Rolex 24 At Daytona, P/GTLM/GTD, Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Florida, 24 Hours
  • March 14-17: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, P/GTLM/GTD, Sebring International Raceway – Sebring, Florida, 12 Hours
  • April 13-14: BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach, P/GTLM, Long Beach, California, 100 Minutes
  • May 4-6: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, P/GTLM/GTD, Lexington, Ohio, 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
  • June 1-2: Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, P/GTD, Belle Isle Park – Detroit, Michigan, 100 Minutes
  • June 28-July 1: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, P/GTLM/GTD, Watkins Glen International – Watkins Glen, New York, 6 Hours
  • July 6-8: Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, P/GTLM/GTD, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
  • July 20-21: Northeast Grand Prix, GTLM/GTD, Lime Rock Park – Lakeville, Connecticut, 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
  • Aug. 3-5: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, P/GTLM/GTD, Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
  • Aug. 17-19: Michelin GT Challenge, GTLM/GTD, VIRginia International Raceway – Danville, Virginia, 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
  • Sept. 7-9: Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda, P/GTLM/GTD, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, California, 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
  • Oct. 10-13: Motul Petit Le Mans, P/GTLM/GTD, Road Atlanta – Braselton, Georgia, 10 Hours

CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTSCAR CHALLENGE SCHEDULE

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge calendar has also been released, with a 10-race slate and a couple quick changes.

Daytona resumes for a second straight year as a four-hour endurance race, while the second four-hour race moves from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to Watkins Glen International. As with the WeatherTech Championship, the series swaps Circuit of The Americas for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Schedule

  • Jan. 26: Daytona
  • March 16: Sebring
  • May 5: Mid-Ohio
  • June 30: Watkins Glen
  • July 7: CTMP
  • July 21: Lime Rock
  • Aug. 4: Road America
  • Aug. 18: VIR
  • Sept. 8: MRLS
  • Oct. 12: Road Atlanta

PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE USA BY YOKOHAMA

Most Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races fall on IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekends, with two exceptions: the Barber and Sonoma dates would fall on Verizon IndyCar Series weekends, unofficially revealing those dates.

That schedule is below:

2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Schedule

Date: Venue

  • March 14-16: Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Florida*
  • April 21-22: Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Alabama
  • May 4-6: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio*
  • June 28-30: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, New York*
  • Aug. 3-5: Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin*
  • Aug. 17-19: VIRginia International Raceway, Alton, Virginia*
  • Sept. 14-16: Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, California
  • Oct. 10-12: Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia*

* — In conjunction with IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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