IMSA restructures GT classes for 2022 season

IMSA new GT class
IMSA
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The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series announced the creation of a new GT class for the 2022 season with GTD PRO replacing the GTLM class.

The GTD PRO division will feature cars built to FIA GT3 technical regulations, which would include the factory-supported cars that comprise much of the GTLM class.

GTD PRO also will be open to customer teams that competed in GTD to compete in either GTD PRO or standard GTD.

The GTLM field has shrunk in 2021 with the departure of Porsche Motorsport (which is focusing on the new LMDh) and the BMW team scaling back to endurance races only. Corvette Racing, which won the 2020 championship with its new CR.8 model, is the only full-time factory-supported team in GTLM this season.

“The introduction of a GTD Pro category in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is a positive move forward for the future of professional GT racing in North America,” said Mark Stielow, Chevrolet Director of Motorsports Competition Engineering. “We appreciate the leadership and openness from IMSA during this ongoing process.

“Now that the class structure has been established, Corvette Racing and Chevrolet will continue to work with IMSA to determine how Corvette could fit into this new future of GT competition.”

Though GTLM teams currently are invited to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the new GTD PRO division (which will adhere to a different car spec) currently doesn’t have that classification.

“The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has long been regarded as featuring the world’s greatest GT manufacturers, teams and drivers and some of the world’s most exciting and competitive professional GT endurance racing through the GTLM class,” IMSA president John Doonan said in a releaese. “We believe the move to GTD PRO offers the best opportunity for manufacturers and teams to continue that legacy well into the future. We expect considerable manufacturer participation when we kick off the GTD PRO class a year from now in the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona.”

Here’s the release from IMSA:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Solidifying a bright future for factory-supported, professional GT endurance racing in North America, International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) officials today announced the introduction of the GT Daytona (GTD) PRO class to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship beginning in 2022.

GTD PRO will include race cars built to FIA GT3 technical regulations. GTD PRO offers the opportunity for factory teams and driver lineups to compete in the class, while customer teams, Pro-Am or Am-Am lineups have the option of competing in either GTD PRO or the standard GTD class. Michelin will be the exclusive tire supplier for both the GTD PRO class and the existing GTD class in the WeatherTech Championship.

TD PRO replaces the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, which will contest its final WeatherTech Championship season in 2021 using LMGTE technical regulations developed by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO).

New FIA GT3 technical regulations will debut in 2022. New cars built to those specifications, as well as any existing cars upgraded through “Evo” kits will be eligible to compete in GTD PRO and GTD starting next year. There are nine manufacturers currently participating in IMSA with GT3 cars in the GTD class.