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

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.