IMSA unveils its 2021 schedule, competition changes for next season

IMSA 2021 schedule

UPDATE: IMSA has moved the Long Beach and Laguna Seca rounds, rescheduled VIR to October and the season finale to November, announced its Detroit round as June 11-12 and added a second race at Watkins Glen International while canceling its Canadian Tire Motorsport Park round for the second consecutive year. 

IMSA released its 2021 schedule for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which will be contested over 12 rounds next season.

The season will open with the Rolex 24 at Daytona on the Jan. 28-31 weekend (directly preceded as previously announced by the Roar before the Rolex test session) and conclude Nov. 10-13 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (which originally was Oct. 6-9).

The sports car series also announced several competition changes for next season:

–A fifth class will be added with LMP3 joining DPi, LMP2, GTLM and GTD for six races.

–A new championship structure will increase points awarded by a factor of 10 with a victory now worth 350 points (previously 35). Points still are awarded from first to 30th.

–Points also will be awarded for qualifying at 10 percent of the total (35 points for a pole). Qualifying points are awarded to all drivers in each car.

–The qualifying format for LMP2, LMP3 and GTD will be broken into two segments and split between amateur and professional drivers.

Here’s the IMSA schedule for the 2021 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship:

Jan. 28-31, 2021: Daytona

March 17-20: Sebring

–May 14-16: Mid-Ohio

–June 11-12: Detroit

–June 24-27: Watkins Glen

–July 2: Watkins Glen

–July 16-17: Lime Rock

–Aug. 6-8: Road America

–Sept. 10-12: Laguna Seca

–Sept. 24-26: Long Beach

–Oct. 8-10: VIR

Nov. 10-13: Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.