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IMSA Releases Event Operations Protocol for Return to Racing

35-page document outlines “completely new mindset” of IMSA event operations amid coronavirus pandemic…

Photo: John Dagys

IMSA has issued its event operations protocol for competitors ahead of its planned return to racing next month at Daytona International Speedway.

The 35-page document, released on Friday following a videoconference with IMSA President John Doonan, outlines new safety-related protocols the sanctioning body will be adhering to in the operation of its events for the remainder of this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It is largely focused on the pre-screening of participants, entry process into the circuit and paddock operations.

As confirmed last week, IMSA will limit each car to a maximum of 15 essential personnel in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, including entrant representatives, drivers, crew members and driver coaches.

A limit of ten personnel per car will be imposed for Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America teams, meanwhile.

OEMs will be limited to seven essential workers, with non-OEM ‘premium industry support’ companies set for a maximum of five essential workers and a maximum of two people per standard industry support company.

As has been the case with teams, IMSA will also have reduced staff inside the garage, with the July 3-4 WeatherTech 240 at Daytona event set to see additional staff working from its office across the street.

Members of race control will also be prohibited from entering the garage, as well as spotters.

Entry into the circuit will be organized in staggered times to prevent crowding while additional space will be given inside the paddock, with a minimum of six feet between each transporter and teams utilizing every-other garage stall to promote social distancing.

Doonan stressed that all competitors must follow CDC guidelines, including the mandatory use of face masks while trackside at all times.

While the Daytona and Sebring events are slated to not allow fan attendance, Doonan indicated that fans are unlikely to be given paddock access once spectators are permitted to return to IMSA events later this year.

Doonan said that competitors will have to enter the events with a “completely new mindset” and potential be inconvenienced by the new protocols and measures.

“I cannot stress enough how substantially important the responsibility is that all of us and every one of your team members has in getting back to the track and operating in a safe manner,” he said.

“In our sport since day one, we’ve all been taught that we’re going to the race track for one reason, and one reason only, and that’s to win.

“As one of my mentors says, ‘We’re going to the race track to earn and collect trophies.’

“In short, we all strive to be better than each of our fellow competitors.

“While there will obviously be races, as they always are at our events, the only real victory here in our upcoming events and the rest of the 2020 season is if we can operate these events with flawless execution on the safety side.

“We will all win together if we have safe events and it is truly on all of our shoulders to ensure that this goes well.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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