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IMSA Rules Out Double Header Replacement for Long Beach

IMSA set to run 11-event season in 2020; no replacement for Long Beach…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

IMSA has ruled out holding a doubleheader replacement event for the canceled Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach despite looking at the potential “very deeply” according to series president John Doonan.

Revealed during a conference call with IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship stakeholders on Tuesday afternoon, Doonan confirmed that the season will be reduced by at least one event due to “a lot of factors.”

As Sportscar365 reported last week, a possibility of having two WeatherTech Championship events on the same weekend had been explored and was at least initially supported by some teams in the paddock.

However, Doonan explained that already busy weekends, as well as potential supply chain complications, would make such an event not feasible.

“As of today, it is not possible for us to replace that 100-minute race in the season,” Doonan said in reference to Long Beach.

“We looked at doubles and there were a lot of comments made about the potential of doubles.

“After looking at it very deeply, we are very sensitive to the complicated nature of all the race cars that run in the the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, and we just didn’t think it was feasible. 

“In addition, working with our suppliers, suddenly launching two events on a race weekend, some of our suppliers that currently have all their factories worldwide shut down… [That] also poses another concern.

“There are a lot of factors. We have had a ‘war room’ of sorts in Daytona and over the phone most recently to be in constant contact looking at all these variables.” 

The decision not to replace Long Beach will result in a 11-round season, as it stands today, with questions still surrounding whether the championship will resume beginning with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, as scheduled, or be pushed back to the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in late June.

IMSA also confirmed on Tuesday a revised schedule that has seen the dates for Mid-Ohio, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and Motul Petit Le Mans all change, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Doonan explained the changes have been made to allow for “proper spacing” between events, particularly with the Laguna Seca round moving one week earlier to give teams competing in the postponed 24 Hours of Le Mans a one-week buffer.

The rescheduled Mid-Ohio race, however, falls one week after Le Mans, on Sept. 25-27 and directly on the rescheduled Nürburgring 24 weekend.

Moving Motul Petit Le Mans one week back, to Oct. 14-17, meanwhile, has been made for “further separation” of IMSA events according to Doonan.

“We [also] tried to provide some space at the end of the season just in case any other events are compromised,” he explained.

“[The new Road Atlanta date] provides separation and preparation for that event, as well as gets us off a weekend that will now have the Masters golf tournament and deep into college football and some other major motorsports events we could avoid.”

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 FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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