International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) officials Jan. 21 announced plans for a seven-event Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season in 2014. The ninth season for the series will feature doubleheader events at each venue to produce a total of 14 rounds. New to a challenging Cooper Tires Prototype Lites schedule are visits to Kansas Speedway and Watkins Glen International. The IMSA Development Series also will return to the rolling hills of Virginia International Raceway (VIR) for the first time since 2012. The Kansas and VIR events will feature another series first, with the Prototype Lites category racing alongside the Prototype Challenge (PC) class from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
"As the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series enters a new era of IMSA sports car racing in North America, it is only fitting that the series introduces new venues and challenges to its unique mix of rising star and veteran competitors," said IMSA Development Series Director Steven Sewell. "With the largest fields in series history last season, Cooper Tires Prototype Lites is pleased to showcase its signature brand of prototype racing excitement at some of the best venues IMSA has to offer."
The 2014 schedule continues its tradition of opening at Florida's Sebring International Raceway on March 13-14 as part of an exciting week of sports car action that culminates with the 62nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida.
The series make its lone visit to Canada on the weekend of July 12-13, returning to the popular Canadian Tire Motorsport Park circuit in Bowmanville, Ontario. Another popular venue hosts the series' ninth and 10th rounds as Cooper Tires Prototype Lites returns Aug. 9-10 to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
The weekend of Aug. 23-24 marks the series' return to VIR in Alton, Va., for the 11th and 12th rounds. The 2014 season once again will close Oct. 2-3 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., as part of the 17th annual Petit Le Mans.
"After experiencing one of the closest championship races this past season, we are excited to begin the quest for our 2014 series champion," said Chris Pantani, Cooper Tires director of motorsports. "(IMSA Vice President, Competition and Technical Regulations) Scot Elkins and his team have created a schedule that will put these Mazda-powered cars to the test at every venue."
In addition to unveiling the 2014 schedule, a new Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series logo was also introduced. The logo aligns with IMSA's new brand identity.