Connect with us

WeatherTech Championship

IMSA Considering Changes to Daytona Qualifying Race

Doonan: more points could be on offer in next year’s Rolex 24 qualifying race…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

IMSA is considering making changes to the qualifying race for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in order for competitors to get “value out of their investment” according to series president John Doonan.

The 100-minute race that determined the grid for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener could potentially award more championship points in the future to give teams added incentive to show their full potential.

Currently, a maximum of 35 points are on offer for a win, the same amount awarded in a traditional qualifying session at the other WeatherTech Championship events.

“I think we’re considering how a 100-minute race here differs from a 100-minute race at Long Beach or Belle Isle,” said Doonan.

“We haven’t made any decisions yet but I think we want to consider all of the options to make sure the teams and partners are getting the value out of their investment and we’re collecting the data.”

Doonan said the overall concept of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 weekend, which ran for the second consecutive year on the weekend prior to the Rolex 24, has been deemed a success by all involved.

“We transitioned to back-to-back weekends with the Roar Before the 24 and the Rolex 24 for the first time last year,” he explained.

“[We had] a lot of feedback from teams of having to leave their families right on New Year’s Eve and things like that so we thought bringing them closer together was a benefit.

“I think it’s saved all of us on travel budget, including everybody in this [press] room to not have to make two trips to Daytona in the same month.

“It also gave us an opportunity to add a qualifying race to the Roar to try and get a read on demonstrative performance. 

“For years I had the opportunity to come here as a manufacturer participant. The Roar was a joke, wasn’t it? People drove around, trying to go the slowest they could and not show their full hand.

“The concept of doing the qualifying race is exactly that, to give people a chance, put some championship points on the line and set the grid and allow people to talk about the pole-sitters for several days.

“I’m not sure we’re fully there yet on having the qualifying race mean enough. I’m trying to find with my teammates the paying point: how many points do we have to award to make them push fully on-track.”

Doonan indicated that the new “tradition” of the Roar on the week prior to the 24-hour race will likely continue next year.

“I think so,” he said. “We will have time to analyze it after this year. But I think we’ve got a little bit of a tradition here and working with Frank Kelleher [DIS track president] and the staff at the speedway and the turnout at the Roar was significant. 

“They had between 3-4,000 scouts here and we’ve created a little bit of a ‘speed week’ of our own, which seems to be well-received.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

Click to comment

More in WeatherTech Championship