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.