Because of new COVID-19 guidelines, IMSA reshuffles three race dates

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IMSA announced Thursday that it is moving three race weekends in its revised 2020 schedule.

Because of new quarantine travel guidelines announced Wednesday in New York and Connecticut because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic), the events at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and Lime Rock Park (in Lakeville, Connecticut) will be held on consecutive weekends in September, allowing the series to remain in the Northeast.

The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, originally scheduled for Oct. 2-4, has been moved to the Sept. 3-6 Labor Day weekend. The Lime Rock event, which had been slated Oct. 30-31, will be held Sept. 11-12.

“(This) will allow teams to stay in the Northeast quadrant who are participating in those two events,” IMSA president John Doonan told teams Thursday.

Because of those moves, the event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca also has been moved from Sept. 4-6 to Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

A 26-car field has been announced for IMSA’s return to racing July 4 at Daytona International Speedway, which will play host to the series’ first event during the pandemic since the Jan. 26-27 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

NBCSN’s coverage of the July 4 race at Daytona will begin at 6 p.m. ET. The July 18 race at Sebring International Raceway also will be televised on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET. Both races are two hours and 40 minutes.

Here is the revised 2020 schedule (with date, track, length of race and classes):

Jan. 25-26: Daytona International Speedway, 24 hours, DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD
July 3-4: Daytona International Speedway, 2 hr., 40 min., DPi, GTLM, GTD
July 17-18: Sebring International Raceway, 2 hr., 40 min., DPi, LMP2, GTLM GTD
July 31-Aug. 2: Road America, 2 hr., 40 min., DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD
Aug. 21-23: VIRginia International Raceway, 2 hr., 40 min, GTLM, GTD
Sept.. 3-6: Watkins Glen International, 6 hours, DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD
Sept. 11-12: Lime Rock Park, 2 hr., 40 min., GTLM, GTD
Sept. 25-27: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, 2 hr., 40 min., DPi, GTLM, GTD
Oct. 14-17: Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, 10 hours, DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD
Oct. 30-Nov. 1: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, 2 hr., 40 min., DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD
Nov. 11-14: Sebring International Raceway, 12 hours, DPi, LMP2, GTLM, G

Here is Thursday’s release from IMSA:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 25, 2020) – As the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prepares to return to action with the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona on Saturday, July 4, the sanctioning body today announced date changes for three upcoming WeatherTech Championship and date shifts for other IMSA-sanctioned series.

The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen event weekend now will be held on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3-6, featuring all four WeatherTech Championship classes for the second round of the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup season. The event at Watkins Glen International in New York’s Finger Lakes region also will include a four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, as well as doubleheader races for both the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America.

The WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes will remain in the Northeast through the following weekend, moving to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut for the two-hour, 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix on Sept. 11-12. Lime Rock also will host a two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race and a pair of 45-minute GT3 Cup Challenge USA races.

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, meanwhile, now will host the penultimate round of the WeatherTech Championship with all four classes on Oct. 30-Nov. 1. The Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship weekend – which also serves as the finale for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup season for the GTD class – will include Michelin Pilot Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America.

“These revisions to our 2020 schedules put all of IMSA’s stakeholders in the best possible position for success,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “They are also the result of the ongoing spirit of collaboration with our promoter partners. Moving our Northeastern events into September should pay dividends from the standpoint of weather. WeatherTech Raceway on Halloween weekend also has the potential to be spectacular and will set the stage for a thrilling conclusion at Sebring.”

Another Lamborghini Super Trofeo schedule revision will bring the series back to VIRginia International Raceway on the weekend of Aug. 21-23 instead of the previously announced Grand Prix of St. Petersburg event.

The six-race IMSA Prototype Challenge schedule announced in May has not changed. However, the season-ending race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta now will be a three-hour race as was the case with the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway in January. All others will be one hour and 45 minutes in length.