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IMSA Reveals “36H Florida” Incentive Package for New International Teams

IMSA to offer incentive package for new international teams…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

IMSA is set to provide a series of incentives for new international teams competing in next year’s “36 Hours of Florida,” including a chance at securing an automatic invite to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The sanctioning body has revealed a “team incentive program” open to foreign teams in the Prototype and GT Daytona classes running in both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring.

It includes a 50 percent discounted entry fee, $1,000 fuel credit per event, two free sets of Continental tires for Daytona and a single set of tires for Sebring.

The package, which IMSA estimates to be more than $50,000 in value, also features hospitality passes, priority reservations at the Chateau Elan in Sebring, rental car vouchers and 50,000 IHG hotel reward points.

Eligible teams must not have contested either race in the last two years.

Additionally, LMP2 teams with Pro-Am driver lineups could could end up with one of IMSA’s two auto-invites to Le Mans in 2019, should they win the Trueman Pro-Am Team Endurance Award, which is given to the highest-placed amateur LMP2 driver in the Prototype championship.

Last year’s season-long Trueman Award went uncontested, with the Le Mans invite ultimately having been awarded to the upstart Keating Motorsports operation.

Special podium recognition and watches (Daytona) or trophies (Sebring) will be provided to the Pro-Am race winners in the events as well.

Representatives from IMSA distributed information leaflets on these incentives to LMP2 constructors last month at Le Mans, with the hope of attracting additional international participation for its two premier endurance races.

“With the unprecedented amount of content we saw in the LMP2 class at Le Mans this year, we wanted to offer an incentive for those teams to join us for the 36 Hours of Florida,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton.

“It’s a time of year when those teams based in Europe are still dealing with winter conditions, so we believe the opportunity to visit Florida combined with awards like the Rolex Daytona watch and podium recognition for the top performing Pro-Am team in LMP2 will entice them to participate at Daytona and Sebring.

“In addition, we are offering an incentive program for new international teams to join us for the 36 Hours, aimed at helping to reduce some of their costs.”

A number of European LMP2 teams have already expressed interest in making their IMSA debuts next year, including Racing Team Nederland and TDS Racing, with others, such as Rebellion Racing, planning a return for at least the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. Jack

    July 3, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I like it.

  2. David Chaste

    July 3, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Nice incentives, but there’s no explanation as to how they can get an invite to lemans. For example a podium finish in one of the races, or the international team with the highest average finish in both races automatically qualifies??

    How will it work.

    • John Dagys

      July 3, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      “Additionally, LMP2 teams with Pro-Am driver lineups could could end up with one of IMSA’s two auto-invites to Le Mans in 2019, should they win the Trueman Pro-Am Team Endurance Award, which is given to the highest-placed amateur LMP2 driver in the Prototype championship.”

      The auto invite is given to the end-of-year champion in the Trueman Pro-Am championship.

      • Issac

        July 3, 2017 at 3:45 pm

        So if one European team does Daytona and sebring in LMP2 and no one else competes then they would get the invite by virtue of being present for two races potentially even one?

        If so that’s a real easy way to get a le mans invite, a little too easy.

        • Mike

          July 3, 2017 at 10:07 pm

          Isaac, sure but we already have 2 teams running the full season with others considering, so far less likely.

          • Issac

            July 3, 2017 at 10:53 pm

            We don’t have two teams competing in IMSA full times. United Autosports and High Class, both of whom would get invites by virtue of full season elms or WEC programs. If full season elms or WEC entrants already get spots then giving the invite is either pointless as will most likely be the case or will encourage teams to put together a program for two races so they can get a le mans invite a year in advance. Add to that IMSA giving away one or two invites that it’s long standing domestic teams may want and that’s not a good idea. Ben Keating wants to continue to do le mans in his P2, he won’t get the invite if a European team gets it.

  3. Jenner

    July 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Wow! NASCAR begging for entrants?

    What happened to all those teams from Grand Am and the like jumping on board the NASCAR choo-choo train after the “merge”?

    And why would a European team want to haul all their cars, gear, crew, spares, tools…..etc to race for 5th? 6th? 10th?

    Gonna b interesting to see who switches to Cadillac during the off season. Guess the positive is 2018 BOP will b a lot easier to manage with everyone racing the same package.

    I love SPEC racing!!!

    • Jordan

      July 3, 2017 at 5:44 pm


      Andy Flinn’s entire self worth depends on this series.

      So much so that he’ll make up lies about other series by claiming that LMP2 cars are spec (they aren’t).

      • Andy Flinn

        July 3, 2017 at 7:51 pm

        Jordan, all LMP2s are MANDATED to have the same (spec) engine.

        Deal with it.

        • Jordan

          July 3, 2017 at 9:45 pm

          Spec means all the cars are the same.

          There are chassis and tire wars in LMP2.

          • Kyle

            July 3, 2017 at 9:59 pm

            All Dunlops and all ORECA 07s (and one Ligier debuting at Nurburgring) in the WEC does not exactly scream diversity.

            ELMS is admittedly better but how many people really follow that? And presumably most folks who sat on the sidelines waiting to see what chassis to buy for the final three years will go ORECA as well.

          • Jordan

            July 3, 2017 at 11:24 pm

            @ Kyle,

            According to Andy Flinn’s logic,

            The Mercedes and Williams cars in F1 are spec cars.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 3, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      Jenner, how many LMP teams were racing in the ALMS prior to the merger? Hint: there were FEWER racing then than are racing now.

      Only fifth, sixth or tenth place positions for European LMP2 entries? Rebellion qualified on the POLE at Sebring this year and on the second row for the Rolex 24. I guess you also missed The Oreca/spec Gibson LMP2 that finished second overall at Watkins Glen yesterday and the Ligier/spec Gibson that qualified on the pole. French LMP2s also won Daytona, Sebring and Petit last year despite the best efforts of the “evil” NASCAR/France/IMSA empire.

      The IMSA prototype class will be spec Cadillac DPi next year? Dream on. However, even if true, that couldn’t possibly be any worse than the Oreca/spec Gibson fest in WEC LMP2 THIS year.

      • AF

        July 3, 2017 at 8:52 pm

        Oh believe me, three of those Chevrolet-powered hunks are quite enough, belittling proper engineering. Wait until you see what comes out of Boris Rotenberg’s workshop next year using the same Dallara chassis. Then you’ll realise what DPI is missing.

    • Bert

      July 3, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      The Euro teams quickly found out that ever since IMSA took over the ALMS, that will never win anything unless they’re using a US domestically made race car….which meant Chevy…but now Ford….but I wonder when we will see a customer Ford GT….prolly never…IMSA IS CORRUPT!!…

      • Bert

        July 3, 2017 at 8:32 pm

        When is the last time Ferrari got the win at the Daytona 24?….or how many IMSA GTLM titles have Euro built cars won?….IMSA IS CORRUPT!….it’s full of NASCAR idiots!!…

        • tracer

          July 4, 2017 at 4:54 pm

          Congratulations. I’ve never seen someone reply to their own reply before… until now.

      • Andy Flinn

        July 4, 2017 at 10:20 pm

        Bert, again, last year French LMP2 prototypes won all three of IMSA’s marquis races (Daytona, Sebring and Petit).

        Spare me the corruption and NASCAR nonsense.

        Based on Pla’s performance at Watkins Glen in the global spec Ligier/spec Gibson LMP2 and Simpson’s drive in the global spec Oreca/spec Gibson, Euro LMP2 teams should be encouraged.

        With Oreca’s current domination of WEC LMP2, the Euro Ligier and Dallara teams actually stand a better chance of being competitive in IMSA than in the WEC.

  4. Mike S.

    July 3, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Do we have to have 3 endurance races in the same state? There are 49 other states. Yes winter time so there and California, maybe Texas would have the best weather that time of year. Just saying. Not anything that is going to change I am sure. Closer to Europe as well. I get it.

    • Matt

      July 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      3?? It’s only Daytona and Sebring… races that have been going on for 60 years. Most states don’t have a decent track

    • Louis

      July 3, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      there are 3 in in Florida? damn I’ve been missing out on the 3rd one!

      • Richard Reeves

        July 4, 2017 at 7:39 am

        I think Mike is saying that there are three 12 HOUR races in FL, as he’s breaking Daytona down into two. Or you could say there are six racing events in FL, if you count the major NASCAR races. Or seven if you count the the St. Pete GP. Or eight if you count Miami’s FE race…It’s hard to keep track of all that goes in the MOTORSPORTS CAPITAL OF THE NATION.
        And if the WEC ever wakes up to the reality that a fall race at Sebring would be the most heavily attended event on their calendar save Le Mans, that would be another notch in FL’s belt.

        • Andy Flinn

          July 4, 2017 at 10:27 pm

          Richard, that will happen around the time IMSA stages their own DPi race at Le Mans.

          The WEC had their opportunity to race at Sebring in 2O13 (after racing there in 2012).

          They blew it and picked CoTA, instead.

          • Bill

            July 25, 2017 at 12:02 pm

            That 2012 race was a bit of a cluster because of the amount of cars though. Didn’t they have to extend the length of the pit lane into turn 1 just to fit everyone? I can understand why WEC didn’t want to continue with the combined race.

  5. The voice of reason

    July 3, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Face it NASCAR/IMSA lovers, this series is in trouble. Why is IMSA putting out this incentive package? Not enough international interest otherwise I take it? NASCAR/IMSA favors GM, lots of people have known this for a long time, and it’s hurting their own series because why would international entrants want to compete if you know you don’t have the pace to win?

    Solution: Make DPi, LMP1-L pace on LMP2 budget.
    Or ban large displacement NA engines in DPi, forced induction only, easier fix.

    Problem solved.

    P.S. NASCAR/GM fanboys GTFO!

    • Andy Flinn

      July 3, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      “Voice of reason” you say IMSA had favored GM for a long time. So which marquis IMSA race (Daytona? Sebring? Petit?) did the GM Corvette DPs win last year? (The Corvette DP won Watkins Glen last year after the Mazda, ESM and other LMPs BROKE.)

      Also, the Caddys won Daytona and Sebring this year because they DESERVED to win. Except for VFR, all of the other prototypes experienced trouble at Daytona. If not Cadillac, who would you have “awarded” the win.

      A French Rebellion LMP2 with a spec Gibson engine qualified on the POLE at Sebring. That’s not having the “pace to win”? How does the “voice of reason” explain that?

      Yes, let’s ban “large displacement NA engines” in what is a NORTH AMERICAN sports car racing series.

      That seems “reason”able. Not!

      If you don’t like GM – or other North American marques – YOU get out.

      • Brad

        July 3, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        Andy Flinn thank you for being the real voice of reason. I was an AMLS fan from day one and I think IMSA is spot on. They have brought that same sprit Don P started.

        • Andy Flinn

          July 4, 2017 at 11:30 pm

          Thanks, Brad. I don’t have any lock on reason. I’m just restating the obvious.

          I feel Don P.’s legacy every time I visit Sebring and Road Atlanta.

    • Mike

      July 3, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      > Why is IMSA putting out this incentive package?

      Because when more people come over it’s great in general for the racing? We already have a strong 9-10 car grid and that’s without Rebellion who has already come over once (and will be back), and because they sense an opportunity to return the Florida classics to their maximum heydeys, where they had grids pushing 80 cars?

      The opportunity is there and IMSA is smart to capitalize on it.

  6. Coach Ep

    July 3, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    I can see this work for the Rolex but not for Sebring – too close to the mandatory pre season test days for the WEC & ELMS runners…

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