New 2006 IMSA Lites series calendar announced

TEN RACES AT FIVE VENUES HIGHLIGHT FIRST YEAR OF IMSA LITES Braselton, Ga. - Ten races at five venues in 2006 make up the inaugural season of IMSA Lites, the new sports racer series sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association. The...

TEN RACES AT FIVE VENUES HIGHLIGHT FIRST YEAR OF IMSA LITES

Braselton, Ga. - Ten races at five venues in 2006 make up the inaugural season of IMSA Lites, the new sports racer series sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association. The schedule, announced today by IMSA COO Tim Mayer, includes stops at a selection of North America's finest, most historic venues.

"There is a great history of sports racers in the United States and North America. But unfortunately there haven't been many chances for those drivers to compete on a professional level," Mayer said. "IMSA Lites presents that opportunity to grow and groom the next wave of sports car - specifically prototype -competitors."

IMSA Lites will feature two classes of open-top sports racer prototypes - Lites 1 and Lites 2. IMSA Lites offers a step up for those racers who would like to advance beyond the club racing level or in preparation for a career in a world-class organization like the American Le Mans Series.

"One of the things missing in our lineup of series was a place where people who were interested in racing prototype-style cars could race with us in a professional environment and in front of the kinds of crowds we attract with the American Le Mans Series," Mayer said. "One of our missions is to develop future drivers, teams and fans for the American Le Mans Series."

The series will be managed by Formula Motorsports' Jon Baytos, who also is responsible for the highly successful Formula Ford 2000 series.

"IMSA Lites reaffirms our leadership in organizing affordable racing series," said Baytos from his Florida headquarters. "Our entire organization is focused on making this inaugural season of the IMSA Lites as strong as any series in America."

After debuting at Road Atlanta as part of the Drift Atlanta weekend May 12-13, IMSA Lites will join the American Le Mans Series four times - at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lime Rock Park, Road America and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta - for the balance of its inaugural season.

"Our first schedule is one that allows us to introduce the IMSA Lites platform all throughout North America, as well as plant the seeds for its growth," Baytos said. "We fully expect the series to be extremely popular with future drivers and fans, which will add to the growing interest to sports car racing, IMSA and the American Le Mans Series."

Like the American Le Mans Series, IMSA Lites will feature multi-class racing. It presents a dimension of competition as drivers must be aware of the class' distinctly different speeds as they navigate the race tracks. It is the same challenge American Le Mans Series drivers face.

Elan VanDiemen will supply Lites 1 chassis for IMSA Lites. The DP02 Sports Racer features a carbon-fiber monocoque, race-designed suspension and uprights, a six-speed sequential gearbox, and a full aerodynamic package that features a front splitter, diffuser and rear wing. The DP02 will be powered by 2.3-liter, four-cylinder Mazda MPZ engine that will be sealed by Elan Power Products.

"We are proud to be able to offer such a remarkable product at such an affordable price," said Elan Motorsports Technologies CEO David Bowes. "Elan has become the world leader in the production of formula cars and that has allowed us to design this car with world class engineering talent, but at a production based price. Customers will find that we have given them a great value."

Radical also will be providing a Lites 1 chassis featuring a 1500cc Powertec engine. In addition, Elan VanDiemen, West Race Cars and Radical all will provide chassis for Lites 2. The cars will be smaller and lighter (about 200 pounds) and will be equipped with 1,000-cc Suzuki GSXR engines.

The affordability of the series is further enhanced by requiring all competitors to use the highly successful Cooper Tires UHP Cooper Zeon Radial. Sunoco will be the spec fuel for the race series.

2006 IMSA LITES SCHEDULE

May 12-13, Drift Atlanta, Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.

May 19-21, American Le Mans at Mid-Ohio, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio

June 29-July 1, New England Grand Prix, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.

August 18-20, Generac 500 at Road America, Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Sept. 27-30, Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.

International Motor Sports Association
The International Motor Sports Association is the premier sanctioning body for sports car racing in North America. Since its establishment in 1969, IMSA has conducted hundreds of auto races on a variety of permanent and temporary racing circuits in the United States and Canada. IMSA currently sanctions such elite organizations as the American Le Mans Series, Star Mazda North American Championship, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin, Formula BMW USA, Panoz Racing Series and IMSA Lites. IMSA is headquartered in Braselton, Ga.

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