Flying Lizard Motorsports team principal Seth Neiman has asked for clarification of IMSA’s new policies following a controversial finish, and post-race reversal of a ruling in last weekend’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The team’s No. 45 Audi R8 LMS of Nelson Canache Jr., Spencer Pumpelly, Markus Winkelhock and Tim Pappas initially inherited the GTD class victory after the race director deemed the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Alessandro Pier Guidi to have made avoidable contact with Winkelhock on a hard-fought final lap of racing.
While the Lizards celebrated in victory lane as the winners, IMSA reversed the decision following a meeting with the supervisory board, which handed the win back to Level 5 and drivers Townsend Bell, Jeff Segal, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Bill Sweedler and Scott Tucker, nearly four hours after the checkered flag.
“The sequence of official decisions following the race was a big surprise, as we and Audi had been told the results were final, and did not realize that the supervisory body could make such a delayed ruling,” Neiman said.
“This is a new series and has new rules and policies for all of us. I have asked for clarification of how the supervisory board works and how teams can present their case in situations like this.”
According to Level 5 team manager David Stone, the team did not submit a protest of any sort and IMSA had begun its own internal investigation post-race, which ultimately saw the initial time penalty imposed on the No. 555 Ferrari overturned.
It’s understood that protests, in fact, are not allowed under the new sporting code. Flying Lizard team manager Eric Ingraham, meanwhile, told Sportscar365 on Monday they don’t plan to take any further action.
As listed in the 2014 rulebook, IMSA’s supervisory board consists of IMSA CEO Ed Bennett, President and COO Scott Atherton, technical directors Scot Elkins and Richard Buck, as well as Mark Raffauf, Gary Cummings, Steve Sewell, Jeff Smallwood, Charlie Cook and race director Paul Walter.
However, Elkins, who addressed the media Sunday night, did not provide specifics on the overturned ruling other than it being deemed by the committee as a “racing incident.”
“I think we also need some clarification on whether or not competitors are still required to give racing room in close situations,” Neiman said. “I have been assured information on both of these topics will be provided. That said, it’s time to move on – congratulations to Level 5 – a great race. Now on to Sebring!”