IMSA President John Doonan said the sanctioning body needs more data on the performance and interaction between the GTD class and new-for-2022 GTD Pro category before considering any potential performance-related changes in the future.
The new era of GT racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship kicks off with this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, with both GT3-based classes featuring identical technical regulations and Balance of Performance tables.
It has essentially created a 35-car GT field with two different classes only separated by GTD’s Pro-Am-enforced driver lineups.
While reaffirming IMSA’s intention of maintaining the current regulations, Doonan said it’s too early to make judgements based on only a single 100-minute qualifying race and several on-track sessions at Daytona International Speedway.
“It’s hard to tell just yet,” he told Sportscar365. “I think Sunday in the qualifying race was a decent indicator that when the Gold or Platinum-rated drivers are in the [GTD] Pro cars, they should go to the front. It played out a little bit like that.
“But it also shows you that when the Silver or Gold or Platinums are in the GTD cars, they can run. That was the intent, to be able to, at the end of a 12, 24 or 2-hour and 40-minute race, have all of the pros in the car and put on a show for the audience.
“We’ll see. We need 24 hours of stints to really get a read on it, on how that works, to have everybody on the same BoP.
“I think simplifying it for the audience, even though they’re running in two categories, to know all the cars are the same was something that the majority of the manufacturers wanted.”
The concept of having Pro and Pro-Am GT3 classes running to identical regulations has been successfully demonstrated in numerous championships around the world with success.
However, several manufacturers, namely Corvette Racing, have voiced their displeasure on not having a distinction between the classes.
“I’m really keen to have — and thank goodness it will be dry although cold — we’ll get 24 hours of data and be able to see how the cars are across stints and when a Bronze or Silver-rated driver is in a GTD car and how that works out,” Doonan added.
When asked if IMSA would consider creating a stratification between the two classes in the future, Doonan said it would only happen based on manufacturer feedback and stressed that the current vision is to keep the two classes identical from a performance standpoint.
“We’re always analyzing it,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that it’d have full consideration. But if we feel like, and based on feedback from manufacturer partners that there needs to be a change, we’ll definitely do it.”