IMSA announces new title sponsor, 2016 schedule

WeatherTech replaces TUDOR as 'entitlement partner.'

IMSA announces new title sponsor, 2016 schedule
Scott Atherton, President and CEO of Tudor United Sportscar Championship
#22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: Cooper MacNeil with the lovely WeatherTech girls
#22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen
#22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen
#22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America: Cooper MacNeil, Leh Keen

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin -- If you are just now getting comfortable with saying "TUDOR United SportsCar Championship," you have until the end of the season to prepare for calling the IMSA series the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, effective November 1 of this year.

While WeatherTech, the Illinois-based manufacturer of premium vehicle floor mats and other automotive accessories becomes the title sponsor, TUDOR, the watch company, isn't leaving -- it's just becoming the “Official Timepiece of IMSA” for the next decade.

This was just some of the news made at the annual IMSA State of the Sport presentation, held at a resort near Road America, where the TUDOR Championship is holding the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. Drivers, owners, team members, sponsors and the media attended the address, led by Scott Atherton, IMSA president.

WeatherTech founder and CEO David MacNeil, and his son, Cooper MacNeil, who drives a Porsche for Alex Job Racing in the GT Daytona class of what will become the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, are committed to the high-profile program. Said David MacNeil, an accomplished road racer himself: “We want this to be the new golden era of sport car racing in America, and I want WeatherTech to be a big part of it. It is my intention to use our marketing horsepower to elevate the awareness of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to the general public. We want to increase our fan base for the betterment of the teams, the sponsors and finally the drivers.”

12-event schedule for 2016

The 2016 WeatherTech Championship schedule will include a total of 12 events and opens with the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona in Daytona Beach, Florida on Jan. 30-31. It will be the first event in the new Daytona International Speedway motorsports stadium following the completion of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising project.

The 2016 schedule that Atherton announced is very similar to this year's, with the main change being a Fourth of July weekend event for the Watkins Glen race.

The WeatherTech Championship schedule will be anchored by four Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup events: The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in Sebring, Florida on March 19, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in Watkins Glen, New York on July 3 and the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia on Oct. 1.

The other WeatherTech Championship events include the Grand Prix of Long Beach (California) on April 16, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California on May 1, Detroit’s Belle Isle on June 4, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario on July 10, Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut on July 23, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on Aug. 7, Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia on Aug. 21 and Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on Sept. 17. Atherton said the COTA event in 2016 will again be run in conjunction with the World Endurance Championship.

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge will run as companion events to the WeatherTech Championship at all 2016 races except for Long Beach and Detroit.

2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule

Date Event/Venue/Location (Classes Participating)

Jan. 30-31 Rolex 24 At Daytona (All)
Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Florida

March 19 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida (All)
Sebring International Raceway – Sebring, Florida

April 16 Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach (P, PC, GTLM)
Long Beach Street Circuit – Long Beach, California

May 1 Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix (All)
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, California

June 4 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (P, PC, GTD)
Belle Isle Park – Detroit, Michigan

July 3 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (All)
Watkins Glen International – Watkins Glen, New York

July 10 Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance (All)
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

July 23 Northeast Grand Prix (PC, GTLM, GTD)
Lime Rock Park – Lakeville, Connecticut

Aug. 7 Continental Tire Road Race Showcase (All)
Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Aug. 21 Oak Tree Grand Prix (GTLM, GTD)
VIRginia International Raceway – Alton, Virginia

Sept. 17 Lone Star Le Mans (All)
Circuit of The Americas – Austin, Texas

Oct. 1 Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda (All)
Road Atlanta – Braselton, Georgia

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