IMSA Detroit start times: The battle between manufacturers in the premier DPi category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will resume this weekend at a new venue and with a likely new favorite.
After consecutive wins by Acura on the road courses of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Laguna Seca, the edge should shift back to Cadillac for the bumpy street course layout of Belle Isle Raceway in Detroit.
After an Acura won the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, Chip Ganassi Racing’ Cadillacs won at bumpy Sebring International Raceway and on the streets of Long Beach.
Though the former is a road course, both have the bone-jarring bumpiness of street courses, where Cadillacs have been favored. For the second consecutive year in Long Beach, the Acura teams were so far off the pace, they basically threw in the towel before the green flag.
The gap should be less pronounced at Detroit — particularly with a Balance of Performance adjustment that adds 15 kilograms to the Cadillac — but Ganassi enters as the defending race winner.
“I think we’re going confident into the second street race of the year,” said Ganassi No. 01 driver Renger van der Zande, who won with Kevin Magnussen last year and won at Long Beach with Sebastien Bourdais. “I think the Cadillac has always been doing well at Detroit. We obviously have a bit of a BOP hit with 15 kilos.
“The car is really on edge with the weight, so that 15 kilos might not sound like too much, but it is that little extra that has killed us in the past. That was at tracks like Road America. I don’t know how it’s going to hit us in Detroit.”
Tire degradation likely will increase for the Cadillacs with the extra weight at Detroit, which would seem to be a track-specific BOP change by IMSA after van der Zande said that Acuras were faster in the most recent race at Mid-Ohio last month.
“If this means that we’re going to get track-independent BOPs, that would be really good,” he said. “But that would be something they have not announced yet. If it goes into a track-independent BOP, then I’m super happy with it because that’s exactly what we need. You can’t compare a (low-gear) street track with (a high-speed road course).”
“It should be equal, then everybody should not complain and be happy. IMSA had it right for quite a few races, especially last year. I felt that it was very even. I think this year they mismatched sometimes and it’s because they look at it from event to event and not track independent. I hope they really start looking at track to track.”
After the makes seemed relatively equal at Daytona and Sebring, van der Zande said Acuras “were nowhere” at Long Beach.
“We don’t like that either,” van der Zande said. “If you see Long Beach that we were at an advantage and you look at Detroit and we might be at an advantage again, they might have made the right call. But if it’s wrong in Detroit, you can’ go to Watkins Glen and say, ‘Well, it was wrong in Detroit so let’s change it for Watkins Glen to make it equal.’ It’s a different animal.
“That’s what I said about track-independent BOP. It makes more sense to do it that way. With the bumpiness, I think the Cadillac is doing very well. But on a smooth track the Acura is doing better. Every track is a little different and I think they should be able to fine-tune it because we’re going there every year with the same car.”
The other Cadillac team will have a driver lineup change as Olivier Pla has replaced Tristan Nunez as a teammate to Pipo Derani in the No. 31 of Action Express.
The Acuras have taken advantage of their road course dominance with the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing ARX-05 of Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor leading the championship standings by 32 points over the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura of Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist.
After 11 IMSA races dating to 2007 at Belle Isle Raceway, the Detroit Grand Prix (which includes the NTT IndyCar Series) will move to a downtown street circuit in 2023.
Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle Raceway in Detroit (all times are ET):
IMSA Chevrolet Sports Car Classic start times, schedule, TV info
When: Saturday, 3:10 p.m. ET
Race distance: One hour, 40 minutes on the 14-turn, 2.3-mile street course
Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 70 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.
Entry list: Click here to see the 16-car field over two divisions (DPi GTD) for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit.
TV: 3 p.m. ET, USA Network, Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag. Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analyst Calvin Fish and pit reporters Marty Snider and Dave Burns.
IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 5:25 p.m. ET.
IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at 4 p.m. (XM 207, Internet/App 992).
DAILY SCHEDULE IMSA DETROIT
Here’s a rundown of the IMSA Chevrolet Sports Car Classic (all times ET):
Friday, June 3
7:30 a.m.: Gates open
8:00 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice
10:30 a.m.: Masters Endurance Legends USA practice
12:05 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice
2:25 p.m.: Indy Lights Series practice
3:30 p.m.: NTT IndyCar Series practice
4:45 p.m.: Masters Endurance Legends USA qualifying
5:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying
5:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying
Saturday, June 4
7:30 a.m.: Gates Open
7:45 a.m.: Indy Lights qualifying, Race 1
8:30 a.m.: NTT IndyCar Series practice
9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship warmup
10:25 a.m.: Masters Endurance Legends race
11:30 a.m.: Indy Lights Race #1
12:35 p.m.: NTT IndyCar Series qualifying
3:10 p.m.: Green flag for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic (100 minutes, TV: USA Network)