IMSA has made a number of changes to its sporting regulations affecting driver pairings, drive-time and ratings for the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, which primarily will affect the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races lineups.
In Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona, three or four-driver lineups will only require a minimum of one Silver or Bronze-rated driver, instead of two as had been the case this year.
Five-driver lineups, which are only eligible for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, will still require a minimum of two Silver or Bronze-rated drivers.
Dion von Moltke, who co-drove the winning Audi R8 LMS with Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara and Filipe Albuquerque in the 2013 Rolex 24 (then under GRAND-AM sanction, rules and regulations), noted the landscape of gentlemen drivers will still determine the type of lineups for Daytona and the rest of the Patron Endurance Cup races.
“Every change tends to have more of a snowball effect than you realize, but overall this should be a good change, because what you should see is more opportunities for paid drivers,” von Moltke told Sportscar365. “It all depends on the landscape of the gentlemen drivers. If there’s more of them, then that creates more opportunities.
“If there’s less gentlemen drivers, you’ll still see guys who will need to bring some funding. So this will still be scoped around who the gentlemen drivers are.”
GB Autosport team principal Michael Avenatti praised IMSA’s decision to make this adjustment.
“We applaud IMSA for listening to the paddock and making these changes,” Avenatti said. “They will help ensure that the series will continue to attract the best drivers in the world and give them an opportunity to showcase their skills for the fans.
“We expect the combined talent level on display next year will be the best in the world of sports car racing.”
The new global FIA driver ratings system, which will see the current IMSA driver rating system replaced, is due out shortly and will be posted to the FIA website.
Also notable in the competition memo is that for PC and GTD, if the one required Silver/Bronze driver has achieved the minimum drive-time, a second driver (or any additional), regardless of rating, that drives the car is also eligible for points.
For instance, in a GTD car where one Silver/Bronze driver has achieved the minimum drive-time and a second driver drove out of the pit lane (crossing the timing loop and registering the corresponding Driver ID) before the car suffered a terminal mechanical failure, both drivers would be eligible and awarded the points for that car’s subsequent finishing position, maintaining the driver pairing for points purposes.
There were numerous instances this year where PC and GTD driver points were split if a driver failed to complete the minimum drive-time.
Also released today are the provisional minimum drive-time tables; those are listed below. Note races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Road America, Virginia International Raceway and Circuit of the Americas are now two-hour, 40-minute races instead of what had been two-hours, 45-minute races.