The buzz from Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans carried over to Sunday evening as IMSA celebrated its champions across the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at its annual WeatherTech Night of Champions.
Held at the Chateau Élan Winery and Resort in Braselton, Georgia, the three class champions received new Tudor watches to honor their titles.
Each of the class championships went down to the wire one day earlier in one of the most unpredictable championship races, and thrilling season finales in recent memory.
FOX Sports personalities Calvin Fish and Brian Till hosted the proceedings, which in addition to giving away hardware, also served as a fond farewell to longtime IMSA partners Continental Tire, FOX Sports and Tequila Patrón.
“To FOX Sports and Tequila Patrón, thank you from the bottom of our collective hearts,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton.
“As everybody here knows, last night marked the end of a nine-year partnership with Continental Tire, which is as enthusiastic a partner as any sports property could ever want. We simply would not have the success we are celebrating tonight without their unwavering support.”
Atherton was joined on stage by IMSA Chairman Jim France and CEO Ed Bennett to present Continental Tire with specially made trophies that featured the black outline of IMSA’s logo made from actual Continental Tire racing tires reclaimed from racetracks during this season.
In addition to the on-track awards given to class driver, team and manufacturer champions in both the regular season and the four-race Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup champions, a number of additional awards were given out.
Continental Tire CEO Jochen Etzel presented the Continental Tire Extreme Spirit Awards representing the heart and soul of the IMSA paddock. Those awards went to longtime lead engineer at Meyer Shank Racing, Dale Wise, and longtime mechanic at Wayne Taylor Racing, Bill Mullen.
In addition to presenting Extreme Spirit Awards, Continental Tire also continued its tradition of awarding commemorative Bill Patterson paintings to the 2018 WeatherTech Championship team champions in the Prototype and GT Daytona classes.
Another significant award on the evening was the prestigious Jim Trueman and Bob Akin Awards given annually to the top Pro-Am drivers in the Prototype and GTD classes, respectively.
These awards, won by Misha Goikhberg (Prototype) and Ben Keating (GTD) carry with them highly coveted invitations to compete in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans for the teams they competed with this season.
The season-ending VP Fuels Front Runner Award, given to the team that had the most lap leading efforts, was presented to the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports, No. 911 Porsche GT Team and No. 6 Acura Team Penske teams.
The Motul Pole Award was presented to the drivers with the most poles in the Prototype and GTD classes: 3GT Racing driver Jack Hawksworth and CORE autosport driver Colin Braun.
While the WeatherTech Night of Champions was a look back at another successful WeatherTech Championship season, it was capped off with a look ahead to the 50th Anniversary of IMSA in 2019 and a teaser of what will be a season-long celebration next year.
“What will go down as one of the most unforgettable championship seasons we’ve seen is now in the book,” said Till to close out the evening.
“But I’ll leave you with one final nugget. The biggest spread from first to second in any of the three championships was six points. Truly remarkable and proof that every race, every lap, every minute and every position matters.”