A reserve list will be utilized for the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the first time in nearly a decade, with IMSA President John Doonan confirming that January’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener has been oversubscribed.
The twice-around-the-clock Florida endurance classic, which will open the new GTP class era of LMDh prototypes, has exceeded 70 entries according to Doonan, who said that the sanctioning body’s selection committee will be put into place to form the expected 61-car grid.
It will mark the first time the Rolex 24 has been oversubscribed since the launch season of the WeatherTech Championship in 2014.
“It’s a wonderful statement for the sport that there’s that much interest,” Doonan told Sportscar365.
“I think it’s a wonderful statement for the OEMs that have customer car programs that there’s that many people that want to compete. That’s the positives.
“Obviously the challenge is that we can only fit so many in the garages and on pit lane.
“We showed that 61 is possible last year and have been very sensitive about people’s experience in making sure we’re not putting them in too tight of quarters.
“That is probably the target, to see if we can match what we did last year.”
Doonan, meanwhile, has outlined the selection process.
“You look at full season WeatherTech Championship entries, you look at full-season Michelin Endurance Cup entries,” he said.
“Then you look at a lot of different considerations, people that have committed and have been with IMSA for many years, people that are in relationship with a manufacturer now and for the future and a lot of other factors.
“As a staff, we’ve met at least once a week, probably twice a week, since Petit Le Mans to discuss this.
“We moved our entry dates up to give all of the community a little bit longer runway to plan.
“The bitter-sweet part is that there will be a reserve list. Because I was on that side, I know what it takes to pull together partners, cars, team members to actually execute a program.
“Knowing that some folks will be on the reserve list, my heart goes out to them, but we’re going to make the best decisions based on that rationale we’ve been put forward.”
Doonan said teams will be notified in the “next couple of days” of their entry status, with an entry list to be published before Christmas.