DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 22, 2013) – The marquee status of the new United SportsCar Racing series will be undeniable in 2014, as will the importance of another component in the ongoing merger of GRAND-AM Road Racing and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA): the lineup of two development series and four single-make series.
Key points: Driver rating system, Pro-Am concept coming to Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. New Porsche 991 entering two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Series. Lamborghini Super Trofeo anticipating increased entries with multi-driver format. Cooper Tires Prototype Lites introduces paddleshift transmission system.
The development/single-make lineup:
· Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
· Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda
· Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama
· Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin
· Ferrari Challenge
· Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Each series has created its own identity, either under GRAND-AM Road Racing sanction or as an IMSA Development Series, and that identity will carry through under the “new” IMSA beginning in 2014. However, most series will also see several positive changes starting next year.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) will continue to run two classes, Grand Sport (GS) and Street Tuner (ST). This is where, in GS, American muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang battle machinery from international manufacturers such as Porsche, BMW, Nissan and Aston Martin, while the ST class features compacts from Honda, Mazda, BMW, Volkswagen, Nissan and Porsche. All CTSCC cars race with modifications focused on safety and performance, but retain their original production “street car” configuration.
In 2014, performance levels in the CTSCC will be adjusted, to assist with an across-the-board cost-cutting initiative. In addition, the IMSA driver rating system announced last month will be established for CTSCC and the “Pro-Am” co-driving approach will be introduced, requiring at least one silver or bronze driver in every lineup. The series also will have a dedicated technical staff and technical manager.
Earlier this season, the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin streamlined its competition classifications to be consistent with the current structure for the U.S.-based Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama. That structure will remain intact for 2014.
In addition, both series introduced a Masters Championship within each class in recognition of the growing driver diversity and competition. Next year will see the introduction of Porsche’s all new 911 GT3 Cup type 991 race car to headline the Platinum class for both series, while the Gold class will utilize the 2010-2013 version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Ferrari Challenge will celebrate its 21st consecutive season of competition in North America next year. It is part of Ferrari’s worldwide Corse Clienti program for Ferrari 458 Challenge race cars, which compete together in 7-8 races per year in North and South America in conjunction with high-profile events like the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and Formula 1 events in the United States and Canada. A number of Ferrari Challenge participants have moved into higher levels of racing as both drivers and team owners over the years.
The Lamborghini Super Trofeo series, which made its North American debut last month at Lime Rock Park to positive reviews, is poised for growth in 2014 with 14 to 18 entries expected. A multi-driver format allows for a relatively low cost of entry and allows the opportunity for rookie drivers to work side-by-side with more veteran competitors during each event weekend’s two-race format.
Each series will provide event promoters with diverse and compelling content for complete IMSA-sanctioned event weekends with United SportsCar Racing as the headliner. Each series could also bring additional excitement to another major road course or street circuit event weekend in North America on occasion.
IMSA - USCR