2014 Race Lengths, Drive Times Confirmed

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will feature only five 2-hour and 45-minute races, with reduced race lengths set for Detroit and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

IMSA confirmed to teams Saturday a series of sporting regulations, including minimum and maximum drive times for each of the 13 events next year.

The series’ trip to the streets of Detroit, which will feature Prototype and GT Daytona cars only, has been reduced to a 100-minute race, the same length as the Long Beach round for Prototype and GT Le Mans competitors.

Additionally, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca weekend will see a pair of two-hour races, one for P/GTLM and the other for PC/GTD. No word has been given if they will be both held on the same day.

As expected, the North American Endurance Cup rounds at Daytona (24H), Sebring (12H), Watkins Glen (6H) and Road Atlanta (1,000-mile/10-hour) remain unchanged from the traditional race lengths.

Two-hour and 45-minute races, meanwhile, are set to be contested at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Road America and Circuit of The Americas, with Virginia International Raceway holding a regular-length round for GTLM/GTD and a pair of 45-minute standalone races for Prototype Challenge.

The PC-only Kansas round will also be in a dual 45-minute sprint format. Both races will be run combined with the Prototype Lites Championship.

IMSA also confirmed each category’s driver classification requirements.

A maximum of three drivers per car will be allowed for races six hours of length or less, while up to four drivers can be used for Sebring and five for the Rolex 24.

In PC and GTD, a maximum of one Platinum or Gold-rated driver is permitted for two or three driver team combinations, with it being increased to two for Daytona and Sebring, should they utilize four or five-driver squads.

There are no driver classification restrictions in the P and GTLM classes.

Additionally, a driver may race in up to two cars during each event.

The minimum and maximum drive times will vary depending on the length of the race.

For instance, a typical 2-hour and 45-minute event will see a 60-minute drive time minimum for PC/GTD and 20 minutes for P/GTLM, while PC/GTD drivers must each complete at least 4 hours and 20 minutes in the Rolex 24 and 2 hours and 50 minutes in the Twelve Hours of Sebring to score points.

43 Comments

  1. Marc

    December 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Going the wrong direction, imo. These are endurance cars, 3-4 hour races for the main series should be the norm.

  2. 917

    December 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    This series just gets worse and worse every day.

    • Tucker Conley

      December 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm

      I agree 100%. As I have said several times now, what Dr. Panoz gave to endurance racing fans has been completely destroyed by the powers that be in Daytona Beach.

  3. Eric Aubanel

    December 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I can understand that short races would be good for the teams’ budgets, but as a fan I’d much prefer longer races.

    • 917

      December 17, 2013 at 5:40 am

      Agree 100% this is the dark ages of American Sportscar racing.

  4. Pat

    December 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    So stupid. I wouldn’t bother with Long Beach or Detroit now, and it would take a lot to get me to go to Laguna Seca. In 2013 Laguna was a 4 hour race. The year before that it was a 6 hour race! This is ridiculous.

  5. Amaury Diaz

    December 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I just hope this is temporary to let teams recover some of the extra money spent due the upgrades.

    • Jc

      December 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      This is news? Why isn’t the headline “new “endurance” race series has no endurance races west of Indianapolis”? Sigh.

      Oh well, with about 45 days to go, it’s good to see the rule book is set…oh wait. Well, maybe the day of the race it might be done. Or perhaps it will just be adjusted lap by lap.

      I am eagerly awaiting the next announcement. Maybe it will be who all of the grand marshals are! Or maybe who will sing the anthems?! Or maybe a ticket or fee for the grid walks!!

      • Greg

        December 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm

        Since the series name is “Tudor United Sports Car Series” I don’t see an endurance anywhere in that name.

        Maybe you are thinking of the NAEC, but that’s not new so whatever…. on to the next pointless complaint you have right?

        • Patrick Lindsey (@BullManUGA)

          December 14, 2013 at 10:28 pm

          Not really. NASCAR made up the NAEC as a marketing ploy. I don’t know of anyone who cares who wins that series of races. This was supposed to be an endurance series. Not a series with races on a weekend with time that equals Pirelli World Challenge.

  6. Jason

    December 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Not a very good set of announcements. I bet nobody is happy with this. Particularly disappointing is:

    1. P/GTLM at Laguna is not at least 2 hours 45 minutes.
    2. I thought with the large grids would allow for Indy, Cota, and Road America to have split class events. No such luck.

    Please reconsider these two points at least IMSA

  7. Ian

    December 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Why have sprint races, am i missing something i thought the word “ENDURANCE” meant long.
    and why start this lark of splitting classes, as Hindy says this is why we like endurance racing for the variety of classes and cars mixing it up together…….

    thank god i am in europe were we have proper races…..

    • Lyra

      December 15, 2013 at 3:40 am

      There is no word endurance on USCC. Also even if most of the races will be so called ‘sprints’, the biggest events are still longer than those in the World ENDURANCE Championship

      Pointless bitching. ALMS and Grand-Am had plenty of sprint racing throughout the years.

      • ian

        December 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        your biggest events may be longer than the WEC, but all WEC are at least 6 hours long, run into the night, have great racing, P1’s no stupid go-carts on wheels. and teh whole atmosphere is very relaxed, accessable and fun….and also cheap.
        wouldnt swap it for anything else, including that snobby F1 crap

  8. Jason

    December 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    To clarify what I said earlier I like the idea of split class races but only if the races are still 2 hours 45 mins. The idea of making the P/GTLM Laguna race just 2 hours is crazy, nuts and idiotic all rolled into one. That is by far the worst decision made by IMSA so far in the scheduling format. The rest is doable I guess. My desire to see more split events was selfish just so I can less of the LMPC class.

  9. Eddie

    December 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    It’s very strange that those tracks that are perfect for extended races–e.g., Road America, Laguna Seca–are turned into sprints. Maybe it’s also about getting the entire race in on live TV. I really don’t know. It’s a work in progress. I suppose we couldn’t expect anything else

    • Bakkster

      December 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Road America is standard length, not a sprint…

  10. Mike

    December 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I agree. I was hearing that Laguna was going to be 2 split up races. This is not in the LeMans sportscar spirit of racing. I was at Laguna the last 4 ALMS races and when it was 6 hours(2011) the race in the GT category went down to the last lap with Risi, RLL BMW and Flying Lizards duking it out. I was bummed when it went to 4 hours but that seemed long enough to have strategy and battles. But now fatigue, the fact that mentally you don’t have to have your head on as much of a swivel (less classes and cars out there) really makes that race terrible at 2 hours and classes split up. Put them all out there for 4 hours again (at least) and let the cards, battles, team strategy play out. That is what endurance sportscars are about.

    I know pit room is tight. The costs went up immensely in new equipment and more miles/races run now but it is a shame that the endurance races are all on the eastern side of the country and half of those at NASCAR owned tracks (Dayroval, and The Glen)

  11. Mike

    December 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    As the casual fans it is confusing as well. Some classes at this track and some not at that track. Some split up some just by themselves. PC only at Kansas City?? Really?? I get it a race to have more than the capped number of PC cars (at all the other races) out there but not ideal.
    Explain this one to Mr. McDreamy (Dempsey). Mr. Los Angeles/ Hollywood can’t even race at his home track in Long Beach as GTD is excluded there. No Lizards, no WeatherTech and other good teams there. Good decision. Used to love the prototypes but this is where the polarization begins as now I would rather have both GT Classes out there (40 cars) and not any prototypes who are going to have issues with balance anyway with the P2’s/DP’s.

    • Lee

      December 16, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      For what it’s worth the Continental Tire series will be at KS with the ST and GS classes. While I do wish they’d bring the GT classes, it’s better than nothing. Here’s hoping next year they start expanding the races having everyone there. I think last years set up was great at KS with the Lamborghinis in the morning/early afternoon followed by the GT/GS classes and GT/GX and Daytona’s running into the night. From what I saw most people started showing up for the GT’s and then the crowd filled in for the DP’s. Though if they want to build a following in KC they need to advertise and get everyone here. I do think that part of the problem might be FS. They really need to just run the races on FS1 and call it good if they want followers.

  12. Mike

    December 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Will everyone please stop bitching. I just ordered my tickets and campsite for RA today. It is gonna be a great weekend of racing, see ya there.

  13. BBlades

    December 14, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    I agree, Mike. Why are you people complaining about sprint races? The two merging series both had 2:45 sprint races for a majority of their calendars. Nearly a third of the schedule is made up of races 6 hours in length or longer, including a 24 hour, there is no lack of endurance racing. Bitching about sprint races only shows a lack of knowledge of the sport. As for Detroit and Long Beach, there is only a limited amount of track time with it being an Indycar weekend, and street races just beat up cars. Splitting the races at Laguna is probably a good idea as well, considering how hard it is to pass there, and there will be a huge grid for both races.

    • Bakkster

      December 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      I absolutely agree. If this is the worst thing we have happen with 60 cars or more at most events, we don’t have much to complain about.

      I think the worries about short races are failing to see the forest for the trees. We’re going from ALMS’s 10 races of an average 4:20 to 12 races per class of an average just under six hours. Even if you count both 2 hour races at MRLS and the four 45 minute PC events, that’s 17 races at 4:25 (still longer than the average ALMS event).

      Or if you only watch races 2:45 and longer, you’ve gone from 8 ALMS races to 9 TUSC, including a 24hr, and the three race NAEC from last year has become four this year.

      And for all the discussion about what sports car racing ‘should’ be, it’s forgotten that the old IMSA GT series had split races, double headers, and occasional races of 1-2 hours at venues like Sears Point, LRP, Mid-Ohio, New Orleans, and more. For all the whining about MRLS being two 2hr races, in 1992 it was split races of 1 hour and 2 hours.

      Seriously, we’ve rarely had it so good.

    • Mike

      December 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      I like the sprint races and are needed. I like having different distances/times to test teams strategies in different diciplines. Street circuits are more of a zoo and shared with other series. Long Beach and Detroit are rough and no way those should be long races I am just saying why mess with races that were good at 4-6 hours. The class thing for casual fans (casual fans are ones that will be needed to grow the sport not us on here that know a bit more than the casual fan) that have a car they are rooting for or a team will be confused and may not see their favorite driver or team depending on the scheduling matrix of what classes are excluded or included at each track.

    • Mike

      December 18, 2013 at 12:50 am

      BBlades. Well I am not complaining of sprint races. I live in Long Beach and respect the mean streets as I have been attending for decades so that is the shortest race of them all. I wouldn’t go if I hated the craziness that ensues in the streets during the shortest sprint race of the season. I am more concerned about changes at Laguna (which is now a sprint race) than wanting to get rid of sprint races. They are needed and I enjoy them. Sorry I am not as omniscient about sports car racing as yourself but I didn’t say get rid of sprint races by any means.

  14. jesx deacon

    December 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I am thinking the series has no clue. Back to back sprint racrs in California with three week gap. 5000 miles round trip for our transporters. Not to mention all the airline expenses. Of course everyone could hang out on the beach for three weeks.

  15. Adrian

    December 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    This is terrible -.- The fact that we have rounds that don’t even feature all the classes is just stupid. Who’s gonna watch a PC only race? Ugh. ALMS never split their field up. I hope it’s not a disaster.

  16. KJ Maxwell

    December 15, 2013 at 12:07 am

    What an outrage!

    I don’t think fans should even watch the series, much less attend an event. 2:45 minute races? This wouldn’t have happened if Atherton and Panoz still ran the ALMS. Sebring and Petit LeMans weren’t two and three quarter hours when they were in charge. They would have had P1

    • oppositelock

      December 15, 2013 at 2:16 am

      Huh? You’re not even making any sense. Most ALMS races were 2:45. Sebring is still 12 hours and Petit is still 10 hours.

      Or are you just trying to be sarcastic?

      • Bakkster

        December 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

        Must have missed the sarcasm tag. He can’t be serious.

        • Scott F

          December 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm

          I’m guessing he was drunk since his post was split into two.

          • KJ Maxwell

            December 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm

            Hey Scott, I am guessing it was Dino the Cat who hit send before I was ready. I never drink to excess anymore.

            ALMS races were 2 hours and forty five minutes? Wow I thought
            NASCAR had wrecked them but most were already that length?
            OK,I believe you on that score,but they still did away with those massive LMP1 fields the ALMS had. Thank goodness, as well as DR. Panoz, that the Deltawing is still racing as a P2 car next year. It is the most wonderful sports car ever and I hope all of the DP guys that aren’t coming back because of budget increases will save their money and buy one for 2015…

  17. KJ Maxwell

    December 15, 2013 at 12:09 am

    – cars and we could see all of the American P1 teams race with Audi,Toyota and Porsche. I hate these NASCAR guys for ruining sportscar racing in America.

    • Bakkster

      December 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      You really think ALMS would have retained P1 in 2014 if not for the merger, rather than following AsLMS and ELMS’s lead and having P2 as the top class? Especially with there being just two cars and them needing to build new cars from scratch.

      • 917

        December 17, 2013 at 5:39 am

        Because two p2 teams is better than two p1 teams plus Audi at Sebring and the Porsche that was going to race alms.

  18. LagunaSnaka

    December 15, 2013 at 1:22 am

    TUSC has lost the plot on this one. The long format races are a draw for existing fans and bring in new ones because its a unique product. When the ALMS Laguna race changed to long format and ran into the evening, attendance went up substantially. It was the only long format race in the West where fans could see the Le Mans spec cars running into the darkness. Most fans are only able to make it for the main event — the feature race. When this is reduced to 2 hrs the appeal lessens and people will be less willing to travel. I have some friends come into town every year to see the long race at Laguna. They won’t be happy to see that its been shortened. Moving away from the endurance theme is poor marketing.

    • Bakkster

      December 15, 2013 at 7:40 am

      Team budgets were a limiting factor. So I suppose the question would be, which races should be canceled to free up budget to run longer at other events? We can’t have both a 13 track schedule and all endurance events (nor could Long Beach ever be endurance length).

    • ian

      December 15, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Could not agree more with this one….the longer the better, i do Le mans every year and its such a cool event to do….heading in to darkness just makes for the whole race…..

  19. CT

    December 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Looks like even though I live here, Detroit isn’t worth the effort. No GTLM there? I simply can’t understand that. The Grand Am event was terrible last year with hours of cautions. The more things change…

    • Mike D

      December 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      Detroit is the same weekend as the Le Mans test. Corvette & SRT teams will likely be there, as will Porsche’s factory drivers.

      • Bakkster

        December 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm

        And since IndyCar is the headliner they can’t very well change the date, and if they raced they would risk losing two of the biggest GT manufacturers.

      • CT

        December 16, 2013 at 7:21 am

        Didn’t realize the rest weekend was that date. Makes sense, just disappointing to not be able to see the Pratt boys kick butt at home. Gotta get tickets for the Glen..

  20. John M

    April 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Kansas Speedway only PC and Belle Isle and Long Beach only 100 min… Ridiculous. And if I remember correctly, Mazda Raceway was a 2 hour 45 minute race in ALMS last year and now it’s 2 hours. Why?

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