Welcome back, Lime Rock: IMSA anounces 2015 TUDOR Championship schedule

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Lime Rock in, Indy and Kansas out on 12-race schedule.

Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., the site of the last race ever for the Grand-Am series in 2013 before the merger with the American Le Mans Series created the current TUDOR United SportsCar Challenge, is back for 2015 in a scheduled just annouced as the series is racing at Road America.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Grand Prix of Kansas are gone.

The 2015 schedule has 12 events, in which each of the four TUDOR Championship classes – Prototype, GT Le Mans, Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona – will compete in 10 races. 

“Moving to 10 races per class addresses a desire and positive input voice by many of our competitors,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett in a statement. “One of the most important components for all of our stakeholders is the fact that all 12 TUDOR Championship races will be televised on FOX Sports.” 

As expected, the 2015 season will begin Jan. 24-25 with the 53rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, then move to the 12 Hours of Sebring. The series concludes Oct. 3 at Road Atlanta, the site of the ALMS closer, Petit Le Mans. 

Lime Rock Park replaces the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Brickyard Grand Prix. That race was a prestigious addition to the sports car calendar, but attendance was disappointing. Leaving Kansas was expected but troubling for the NASCAR-owned series, as affiliate International Speedway Corportion owns it.

Iconic races

“When we set out to create the inaugural TUDOR Championship schedule we wanted to have a calendar that featured the most iconic endurance races, historic road course and major market street circuits in North American all on the same schedule,” said IMSA President and COO Scott Atherton, who did not rule out a return to Indianapolis in future seasons. “We have confirmed all of those elements once again on the 2015 schedule, while also adding another noteworthy venue in Lime Rock Park. This is a schedule that we are confident will be embraced by the industry and sports car fans worldwide.” 

Other tracks left out in the merger, such as Mid-Ohio, Barber Motorsports Park and MIller Motorsports Park, were not included in the schedule.

All four TUDOR Championship classes will compete simultaneously in the four Patron Endurance Cup events (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta) in addition to Road America and the Circuit of The Americas. 

The 2014 season’s last two races will be next-day telecasts on FOX, airing around the network’s Sunday NFL television programming. The race at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, will air on Sunday, Sept. 21, and the race at Road Atlanta will air on Sunday, Oct. 5. 

So far, reaction seems positive to having the schedule released so early. “This is great news to have IMSA already have the 2015 schedule finalized and it is another great line up of tracks and dates again next year,” said Visit Florida Racing Prototype team owner Troy Flis. “We are thrilled that it will kick off with our home race at Daytona International Speedway as we feel like we’ve got some unfinished business there. This is good news for our sponsor partners and for everyone to work on plans for next season, so hat’s off to the IMSA folks for having it ready to go already.”

The 2015 TUDOR United Sports Car Championship schedule follows (classes competing in parentheses):

January 24-25: Daytona International Speedway (All classes) 

March 21: Sebring International Speedway (All classes) 

April 18: Long Beach Street Circuit (Prototype and GT Le Mans classes) 

May 3: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (P/GTLM and Prototype Challenge/GT Daytona – two-hour races for each pair of classes) 

May 30: Detroit Belle Isle (P/GTD) 

June 28: Watkins Glen International (All classes) 

July 12: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (P/PC/GTLM) 

July 25: Lime Rock Park (PC/GTD) 

Aug. 9: Road America (All classes) 

Aug. 23: Virginia International Raceway (PC/GTLM/GTD) 

Sept. 19: Circuit of The Americas (All classes) 

Oct. 3: Road Atlanta (All classes) 

Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup events will be Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.

The series also announced Sunday the final two TUDOR Championship races of the 2014 season will be televised on FOX. 

 

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