IMSA releases GT3 Cup 2009 television package

PATRON GT3 CHALLENGE BY YOKOHAMA RACING TO SPEED LINEUP IN 2009 For the first time in its five-year history, the Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama will hit cable airwaves with a full-season television package on SPEED, series officials announced...

PATRON GT3 CHALLENGE BY YOKOHAMA RACING TO SPEED LINEUP IN 2009

For the first time in its five-year history, the Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama will hit cable airwaves with a full-season television package on SPEED, series officials announced Friday. Each telecast will feature race highlights, lifestyle segments and other features pertaining to one of North America's leading single-make championships.

The news was the latest in a busy two weeks for the IMSA-sanctioned series. Patron added to its already impressive motorsports platform by becoming title sponsor of the series, an expansion of its relationship with IMSA and the American Le Mans Series. Yokohama, one of the country's leading manufacturers of high-performance tires, followed suit by becoming the presenting sponsor and official tire supplier.

"The first four years of the Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama has seen progress and growth in all areas of the championship," said Tim Mayer, IMSA's Chief Operating Officer. "This landmark television contract will put our drivers, teams and partners in millions of homes across the nation. It is a natural next step toward increasing the viability of this prestigious championship and continuing to lay the groundwork for continued success."

The 2009 championship also will see an impressive $60,000 year-end purse. The season starts with a two-race weekend as part of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida in March. Originally planned for one race, the Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama will race on March 19 and 20 at Sebring International Raceway.

Each one-hour program on SPEED will air two weeks following an event. In addition to standard broadcast elements, audiences will have the chance to learn more about the personalities in the paddock.

"The exposure for the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, the world's most highly produced race car, will be greatly increased with this TV package," said Paul Ritchie, president of Porsche Motorsport North America. "Along with last week's announcement of the series sponsorship and new tire supplier, Porsche is convinced that the 2009 Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama will be the best season ever for both drivers and team."

The schedule for the 2009 Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama includes six events at North America's finest road-racing venues. Each weekend will feature two 30-minute sprint races with the addition of a one-hour, 15- minute endurance race to close the season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

-credit: imsa

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