Prototype Challenge added to 2015 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
Virginia International Raceway maintains spotlight on GT Le Mans and GT Daytona.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge (PC) class will compete for the first time on Detroit’s Raceway at Belle Isle in a 2015 schedule adjustment announced today by International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) officials.
PC will race alongside the Prototype (P) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes in the 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers on Saturday, May 30 instead of an originally scheduled race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in August. The Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR will feature the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes in a two-hour and 45-minute race on Sunday, Aug. 23.
This is a fantastic change for the Prototype Challenge class and absolutely confirms IMSA’s commitment to the category,
“The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is such a great showcase for our sport; it will be a nice addition to introduce Chevrolet-powered Prototype Challenge cars to the field,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “As we saw last year at VIR, a ‘GT-only’ race featuring the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes was well received by GT competitors and the VIR fans.”
Top PC teams expected to compete in the 2015 Chevrolet Sports Car Classic class include 2014 champions CORE autosport, as well as RSR Racing, which is based just a few miles up the road from Detroit in Lansing, Mich.
“This is a fantastic change for the Prototype Challenge class and absolutely confirms IMSA’s commitment to the category,” said RSR owner Paul Gentilozzi, who drove to three Trans-Am victories at Belle Isle. “As a Michigan-based team, this is great news for RSR. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
“We are thrilled to be participating in the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix,” added CORE autosport owner/driver Jon Bennett. “As proven in the race last year, it is a challenging circuit that produces some great racing for the fans.”
The most exciting finishes of the season at VIR
The 2014 GTLM/GTD race at VIR, meanwhile, produced one of the most exciting finishes of the season for the TUDOR Championship.
Formula 1 veteran Giancarlo Fisichella passed Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler on the final lap to win in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia alongside co-driver Pierre Kaffer. Eventual GTD champion Dane Cameron held on for a narrow victory in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 over Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458.
“Personally, I think so far, it is the best circuit I like here in America,” said Fisichella after he won the pole for last year’s race at VIR. “I mean, all the other circuits are really, really nice, very fantastic circuits, but here, it’s got something special. I have to say, this is my favorite one here in America. The shape of the circuit is so good.”
VIR, a 3.27-mile circuit, underwent a number of substantial upgrades prior to the 2014 TUDOR Championship event. It has become a favorite stop for many. In addition to the headlining GTLM/GTD race in 2015, the Oak Tree Grand Prix weekend will include a doubleheader for Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda, and a two-and-a-half hour Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge event as part of a jam-packed weekend.
The next official on-track activity for the TUDOR Championship is the annual Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona test, scheduled for Jan. 9-11, 2015. The 2015 season opens with the 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-25.
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