At Road America Friday evening (Aug. 6), IMSA held their annual State of the Series presentation. Here, the series made a series of announcements pertaining to the upcoming year.
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: A Third Attempt To Race The 2020 Schedule
IMSA officially released their 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule. It ultimately looks a lot like the schedules originally released for 2020 and 2021 before COVID-19 derailed plans. The race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), which has been cancelled the last two years due to the closure of the border between the United States and Canada, is back on for 2022. It will be on July 3, the same weekend that it was scheduled to be on this year. That is the only new race on the schedule, although as noted above, it isn’t really a new race. The return of CTMP means that the WeatherTech 240 at the Glen will not be back for 2021.
The Michelin Endurance Cup is back once again for 2022 and is more or less unchanged. It will be comprised of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen and Petit Le Mans.
There are a couple of additional shifts. Both Long Beach and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will return to the Spring. Long Beach will be one week earlier than originally scheduled for this year and will serve as the third race of the year. Laguna Seca will be May 1. VIR will be back in August, while the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will be back to the very beginning of October. If the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule is similar to this year, this would mean that it would be possible to go to both Petit Le Mans and the fall Cup race at Talladega in the same weekend like you could in 2018 and 2019.
There will be two races that will only count towards the WeatherTech Sprint Cup for GT Daytona teams. These races are Long Beach and CTMP.
2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule
|Jan. 21-23||Daytona International Speedway||ROAR Before the 24||N/A||All|
|Jan. 29-30||Daytona International Speedway||Rolex 24 at Daytona||24 Hours||All|
|March 19||Sebring International Raceway||Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring||12 Hours||All|
|April 9||Streets of Long Beach||N/A||100 Minutes||DPi/GTD Pro/GTD|
|May 1||WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca||N/A||160 Minutes||DPi/LMP2/GTD Pro/GTD|
|May 15||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||N/A||160 Minutes||DPi/LMP2/LMP3/GTD|
|June 4||The Raceway at Belle Isle||N/A||100 Minutes||DPi/GTD|
|June 26||Watkins Glen International||Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen||6 Hours||All|
|July 3||Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP)||N/A||160 Minutes||DPi/LMP3/GTD Pro/GTD|
|July 16||Lime Rock Park||Northeast Grand Prix||160 Minutes||GTD Pro/GTD|
|Aug. 7||Road America||N/A||160 Minutes||All|
|Aug. 28||VIRginia International Raceway||N/A||160 Minutes||GTD Pro/GTD|
|Oct. 1||Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta||Petit Le Mans||10 Hours||All|
GTD Pro Tweaks For 2022
2021 is the final year for the GT Le Mans class. As previously announced, GT Le Mans will be replaced by the new GT Daytona Pro (or GTD Pro) class.
Thursday saw additional announcements as to how the classes will ultimately work in 2022. Both GTD and GTD Pro will run on the same compound of Michelin tires. They will be also be treated as one large class in regards to Balance of Performance.
In addition, there will be changes to qualifying in 2022. The session will continue to award points to all classes. However, the multiple sessions for GTD cars will be omitted. The GTD and GTD Pro cars will qualify together in 2022, similar to the current GT Le Mans/GTD Points session. However, the requirement for a Bronze or Silver-rated driver to qualify the car in the GTD class will remain.
Both GTD and GTD Pro classes will have the same minimum drive-time requirements in 2022. As of now, the GT Le Mans class has the same minimum drive-time requirements as the DPi class. That can be as little as five minutes. The new minimums for GTD Pro will be 30 minutes for the 100-minute street races, 45 minutes for regular sprint races, 90 minutes at Watkins Glen, 2.5 hours at Petit Le Mans, three hours at Sebring, and 4.5 hours in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Minimum times for refueling will be harmonized between the GTD and GTD Pro classes as well. Currently, the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes have separate minimum refueling times. Finally, the Bob Akin Award, which provided an automatic entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the best amateur GT driver, will go to the best Bronze-rated driver in the GTD class.
Michelin Pilot Challenge
For Michelin Pilot Challenge, there are only minor changes for 2022. The class will once again have a 10-race schedule that starts in January at Daytona International Speedway and wraps up in October at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
There will still be two four-hour races and eight two-hour races on the schedule. The first four-hour race will continue to be at Daytona. The second one will move from Watkins Glen International to Road America in early August.
Finally, there will be a new Bronze Cup for 2022 in the Grand Sport class. To be eligible, both drivers must be Bronze-rated. There will be a separate Bronze Cup podium at each race and Bronze Cup standings that will build towards a Bronze Cup championship.
2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Schedule
|Jan. 21-23||Daytona International Speedway||ROAR Before the 24||N/A|
|Jan. 28||Daytona International Speedway||N/A||4 Hours|
|March 18||Sebring International Raceway||N/A||2 Hours|
|April 30||WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca||N/A||2 Hours|
|May 14||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||N/A||2 Hours|
|June 25||Watkins Glen International||Tioga Downs Casino Resort 120||2 Hours|
|July 2||Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP)||N/A||2 Hours|
|July 16||Lime Rock Park||Lime Rock Park 120||2 Hours|
|Aug. 6||Road America||N/A||4 Hours|
|Aug. 28||VIRginia International Raceway||N/A||2 Hours|
|Sept. 30||Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta||N/A||2 Hours|
IMSA Prototype Challenge
The IMSA Prototype Challenge will look a little different in 2022. The number of races have been dropped from six to five. In addition, the P3-2 class for previous generation LMP3 cars has also been dropped. The series will only be open to current generation LMP3 cars, or previous generation cars updated to 2020 standards.
The season-opener will continue to be part of the ROAR Before the 24 test weekend in Daytona. It has been expanded back to three hours in length after being dropped down to 105 minutes for 2021.
The series doesn’t look to have much of a future beyond 2022. In the address, it was announced that the winner will receive $100,000 to be used as a credit towards entries in WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races in 2023. The money would be split if the series ends
2022 IMSA Prototype Challenge Schedule
|Jan. 22||Daytona International Speedway||ROAR Before the 24||3 Hours|
|May 14||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course||N/A||105 Minutes|
|July 2||Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP)||N/A||105 Minutes|
|Aug. 27||VIRginia International Raceway||N/A||105 Minutes|
|Sept. 30||Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta||N/A||105 Minutes|
IMSA’s TV current deal with NBC Sports was set to expire after this season. During the address, it was announced that NBC Sports will stick with IMSA for at least the Rolex 24 at Daytona next January. The first hour and final two hours of the race will air live on NBC. The remainder of the programming schedule is unavailable as of press time and will be announced later.
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