Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA reveals 2018 WeatherTech, Continental, Porsche schedules

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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

2016 Knoxville Nationals champ Jason Johnson succumbs to injuries from sprint car crash

Photo courtesy Jason Johnson Racing official Facebook page
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Former Knoxville Nationals champion sprint car driver Jason Johnson has died from injuries suffered in a crash Saturday night in a World of Outlaws race at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway).

Known as the “Ragin’ Cajun” for his aggressive style of racing, Johnson, 41, passed away this morning, according to an announcement by WoO. He was one of the most respected and well-liked drivers on the circuit by both fellow competitors and fans.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson, a Eunice, Louisiana resident, was racing for the lead in the main event on the one-third-mile clay track with eventual race winner Daryn Pitman, when Johnson crashed on Lap 18 shortly after a restart.

Johnson’s car left the track surface in Turn 3 and flew through at least one billboard adjacent to the racetrack, according to media and witness reports.

It took rescue workers several minutes to extricate Johnson, who was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being airlifted to Aurora Summit Hospital in Summit, Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel report.

How many will remember Johnson:

Johnson, who won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals – the sport’s biggest race – in Iowa in storybook fashion, had been a primarily part-time racer on various sprint car circuits from 1998 until he went full-time on the Outlaws series, capturing Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.

MORE: Knoxville win should be big boost to Jason Johnson’s season, career

Johnson had 12 wins on the Outlaws circuit, including two victories this season.

The Journal Sentinel also posted a statement from SLS Promotions, which promoted Saturday’s race:

“Everyone at SLS Promotions offers our deepest, most sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to Bobbi Johnson (Jason’s wife), Jaxx Johnson (the couple’s son) and the entire Johnson family and JJR Racing team.

“Jason was a great competitor and true ambassador for the sport. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him during his time on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series trail. Jason will never be forgotten”

Other notables also commented on his death on social media:

According to the Journal Sentinel, Johnson is the second driver in four years to die at the small track northwest of Milwaukee. In September 2014, Scott Semmelann, 47, was killed there while practicing for an Interstate Racing Association event.

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