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IMSA Expected to Implement Bronze Driver Mandate in GTD

Bronze driver mandate poised for WeatherTech Championship GTD class beginning next year…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

A shakeup in the driver ratings requirements for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class is in the works, with the sanctioning body expected to mandate a Bronze-rated driver for each lineup beginning next year.

Multiple sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that GTD driving squads will be revised to include at least one so-called gentleman driver, compared to the current rule of one Bronze or Silver-rated driver alongside a driver of any rating in two-driver lineups.

The change could be announced as early as IMSA’s ‘State of the Sport’ address at Road America on Friday.

When reached by Sportscar365, an IMSA representative said: “Discussions on a variety of topics, including this one, are ongoing. If we have anything to announce, it will happen [at the State of the Sport address].”

The proposal for a Bronze mandate in the Pro-Am-enforced class has been years in the making, with several GTD manufacturers having pushed for it to be introduced this season.

Out of the 11 GTD entries taking part in this weekend’s IMSA Fastlane Sportscar Weekend at Road America, only the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Bronze-rated Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen, who races as a Gold, would fulfill the proposed new requirement.

This would mean that some existing GTD lineups would likely be moved to GTD Pro, or teams would instead search for Bronze-rated drivers to fill the seats instead of the current Silvers.

Several Bronze drivers have contested races this season but have since backed out of full season commitments including Hardpoint team owner/driver Rob Ferriol and Inception Racing’s Brendan Iribe while others including John Potter, Roberto Lacorte and Richard Heistand have only been in for the Michelin Endurance Cup races.

The WeatherTech Championship has made efforts in recent years to keep Bronze drivers active in the class, including awarding an automatic invite to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the winner of the Bob Akin Award as the highest-placed Bronze-rated driver in GTD.

The likely change comes amid an overhaul in the global FIA driver ratings system for 2023, which was ratified in June and will see numerous drivers moved to Gold, including current Silvers with “significant” single-seater experience.

It will also become more difficult for former professional drivers over the age of 60 to be downgraded to Bronze.

The SRO Motorsports Group-led overhaul of the ratings system is aiming for the Bronze category to be primarily reserved for drivers who obtained their first racing license after the age of 30 and whose profession is not racing.

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

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