Would likely be a separate class, not rolled into TUDOR or Continental Tire.
Ed Bennett, chief executive officer of IMSA, likes what he heard on a three and a half hour conference call Monday night with DTM and Super GT regarding new regulations that would establish a separate class based on a two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, inside a platform that was a production-based cars from the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
“The idea” he said, “is potentially to have this as a separate series,” rather than a class within the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship or the Continental Tire Challenge series.
Called “Class One,” it would not be identified directly with DTM, Super GT or IMSA, but would be a class in itself that could compete globally, using the same cars. It would be a sprint series, not an endurance series. “Never say never,” Bennett said, “you could mix it with some other specifications, but the idea is to have it as a separate class.”
The new regulations begin in 2017. Then, Bennett said, the idea is to have “at least a three-year run on that spec before it was updated beyond 2020.”
Presently for IMSA, “It is still an open and active project.” IMSA presented the idea to American OEMS in August, and is keeping them updated on the progress. He said there is interest, “but it’s kind of premature t ask anybody if they are in or out. But clearly the ball is in the manufacturers’ court.” In other words, if they want to participate, IMSA would be ready to field the series. Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have already shown interest.
Field trip offered
IMSA has offered representatives from the U.S. OEMs “a field trip” to a DTM race, “to show them in person, to spend time with manufacturers. That offer was made.” Details haven’t been finalized.
Bennett would like an 18- to 20-car grid for the series to start out in the U.S. “We still have our work cut out for us on the existing platforms, including the TUDOR Championship, but we think this is definitely an interesting idea.”