IMSA could implement entry caps in WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races next year, amid nearly 40 full-season entries already confirmed and additional cars set for the new-for-2019 IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup.
The sanctioning body reveled Wednesday that it may need to restrict the number of cars at selected events, with pit lane space at Mid-Ohio and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca only able to accommodate maximum fields in the low-40s.
As a result, “restriction protocols” could be deployed for the first time since the inaugural WeatherTech Championship season in 2014.
Full-season ‘premium’ entrants are understood to take priority, followed by GT Daytona class teams that commit to the full seven-round Sprint Cup and/or all classes in the four-race Michelin Endurance Cup and finally time stamps on teams filing standard, single-event entries.
IMSA also may take into account a team’s history of competing in IMSA-sanctioned series and also reserves the right to limit car counts by class as well as the option to exclude a class from a race if a minimum of three cars has not been entered.
It could result in additional races being dropped from the LMP2 schedule, as only two full-season entries are expected.
LMP2 cars are currently scheduled for the Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca races as part of its reduced eight-round calendar.
“While we are not yet in a situation where restrictions are needed, we believe it is important that our constituents be made aware of this situation and understand the criteria we will use if it becomes necessary,” said IMSA Vice President of Competition Simon Hodgson.
“This is a good problem to have – and the fact that there is a need for us to discuss these contingency plans is a testament to the attractiveness of our WeatherTech Championship platform.
“Our 50th anniversary season is now confirmed to have one of the largest and highest quality fields of full-season competitors in IMSA’s history.”
At least 37 full-season entrants have been filed for the 2019 season, with a minimum of four Sprint Cup-only entries already confirmed.