This weekend’s pre-season test at Sebring, as well as the two days scheduled at Daytona for Tuesday and Wednesday, provides a first glimpse into the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, but not an entirely accurate picture, according to IMSA VP of Competition and Technical Regulations, Scot Elkins.
With only a handful of Prototype teams in attendance, each running in yet-to-be-confirmed technical specifications, along with a brace of GTD cars also without a firm rulebook, Elkins stressed that nobody should read too closely into lap times just yet.
“Because we’ve got new cars and new changes to the DPs, we’re [here] to see what we end up with and have some guys trying some different things,” Elkins told Sportscar365. “You’ll see different diffusers on cars and guys trying different restrictors and giving us data points to help us establish where we’re going to go.
“It’s not like people are showing up to this test and however they perform, that’s how we’re going to set BoP. We’re looking at a bunch of different data points to try to work through that.”
Elkins said the focus of the tests changed when they weren’t able to conduct full-scale wind tunnel testing with Daytona Prototypes in their proposed new aero configuration, prior to this week as originally planned.
Instead, the new parts, distributed by IMSA, were put to the test on-track first, with Action Express Racing and Marsh Racing both running their upgraded Coyote-chassied Corvette DPs at Sebring.
“We’ve given them the tools in terms of the diffuser and rear wing,” Elkins said. “Now it’s up to them to give us some data and figure out what they’re like and we’ll define it from there.
“The same thing is with GTD. There’s a lot of [new] GTD cars here. The Porsche is new, the Viper is new. I was in the wind tunnel with the Z4 a few days ago. We’re working on that.”
A wind tunnel test with a Dallara-chassied DP is scheduled for tomorrow and Michael Shank Racing’s Riley-Ford, also sporting the proposed aero updates, is set to take part in the Daytona test later this week.
Both tests will also help with IMSA’s data collection process, Elkins said, along with manufacturer-specific private tests scheduled at Daytona and Sebring next month, in order to confirm the final starting configuration.
“The truth is that we’re not trying to match the P2 [cars],” Elkins said. “To say we’re off by this or that, while a factual statement, it’s not the target we’re trying to meet.
“Our target has always been [for the Prototype class to be] 6 percent faster than the GT[LM] cars. To increase that gap and we make sure we have the right placement of the cars.
“While yes, [the DP is] 2 seconds off [from the 2013-spec P2], it’s not the target we’re shooting for. You can discuss it, but it’s not the final straw. We’re not looking for 2 seconds.”
Elkins said he aims to have a published set of draft technical regulations for all four classes released prior to the Roar Before the Rolex 24 in early January.