IMSA has confirmed that GTD Pro will utilize the same specification Michelin tires as the current GT Daytona class when it is introduced into the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2022.
The sanctioning body revealed Wednesday the technical and sporting regulations for the new GT3 category that replaces GT Le Mans following “countless hours” of analysis and several technical working group meetings with all interested manufacturers and Michelin, IMSA’s Official Tire partner.
According to a statement from IMSA, Michelin’s Pilot Sport S9M tire compound has been chosen instead a confidential or semi-confidential option in efforts to “reduce development costs” for both manufacturers and customer teams entering GTD Pro.
A “longer term solution” for 2023, believed to be a unique tire offering for the class, will be announced “at a later date” by IMSA and Michelin.
In addition to the common tire and same fuel mixture from VP Racing Fuels, GTD Pro and GTD will utilize the same Balance of Performance process but will be managed independently in each class.
IMSA states that its expectation that performance levels in GTD Pro will exceed GTD because of the category being geared towards factory supported teams and drivers.
GTD Pro will adopt current GTLM sporting regulations on driver ratings, qualifying, grid placement and race procedures, although will now require teams to start the race on qualifying tires or face a penalty.
This is different from GTLM, which has allowed teams to use any tires from their allocation without penalty.
The new-for-2022 class will utilize the same testing limitations as the existing GTLM class, which allows for eight days of testing.
The GTD class will continue to be capped at four days, although Bronze drivers may have unrestricted test days with IMSA approval. Wind tunnel and straight-line testing is prohibited in GTD.
The same driver rating requirements of having at least one Bronze or Silver-rated driver in each car in GTD will remain in place, as well as the newly introduced qualifying format which requires a Bronze or Silver-rated driver to set the team’s starting position followed by a mandatory driver change and a second qualifying session to earn qualifying points.
“It was important that we worked in lockstep with our manufacturers and tire partner to develop the GTD Pro ruleset,” said IMSA President John Doonan.
“Our IMSA technical team was thorough in its analysis and the end result allows us to chart a successful course for the future of factory-supported GT racing in GTD Pro as opposed to the customer racing nature of the GTD class.
“Ultimately, the market will speak as manufacturers confirm plans to participate, but we are very optimistic that we will have strong fields in both GTD Pro and GTD starting next year.”
No official word has been given on any exceptions to permitted FIA GT3 homologated machinery in GTD Pro, although Doonan has previously told Sportscar365 that the series is working with Corvette Racing to be on the grid with a modified version of its GTE-spec Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.