IMSA will establish technical working groups, similar to the process seen with LMDh, in order to finalize the regulations for the newly announced GTD Pro class according to IMSA President John Doonan.
Confirmed on Thursday, an all-pro GT3 class will replace GT Le Mans in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship beginning in 2022.
While few details have been confirmed on the technical or sporting fronts other than the utilization of GT3 machinery and eligibility of factory teams with all-pro lineups, Doonan said the next few months will dictate the category’s course.
“We did feel it was the right timing [to announce GTD Pro], not just because it was Rolex 24 week but given the number of conversations, given the timeline of GTLM and its homologation period,” Doonan told Sportscar365.
“The next step coming out of [Thursday’s] announcement is a bunch of technical working groups, in a similar manner that was used for LMDh.
“We plan to work with the manufacturers as well as Michelin to come up what ultimately is the next set of technical regulations.”
Doonan said the current concept would see GTD Pro and GTD having the same performance levels, similar to SRO’s structure of multiple classes under GT3, although it has yet to be confirmed.
The “tire strategy” with exclusive supplier Michelin is also still to be formally worked out.
The outgoing GTLM class features a range of ‘confidential’ tires tailored to each manufacturer while GTD currently sees Michelin’s commercial Pilot Sport S9M tire for all cars.
“At the moment we talked about having the specifications of the cars in GTD Pro and GTD being the same,” Doonan said. “But until the final technical regulations are completed, we need to keep getting the feedback of the manufacturer partners.”
When asked if IMSA would consider any changes to the current GTD class, particularly a Bronze-rated driver mandate, Doonan said they need to “work through” that as well.
“We have not made any final decisions in that regard at all,” he said.
Doonan said it’s “hard to forecast” the grid for the 2022 season in the class but indicated they’re looking to build on what they already have in GTLM.
Chevrolet, BMW, Ferrari and Porsche are represented in this year’s Rolex 24, with all manufacturers except for Corvette currently having GT3-spec machinery.
“It would certainly be great if we could match what we have seen over the last several years in terms of the total manufacturers there,” Doonan said. “But there’s always room for growth.
“As we sit in GTLM here at the Rolex, there’s four manufacturers represented. Wouldn’t that be sweet if we could at least match that?
“The market will dictate.”
“Too Early to Tell” on Global GT Convergence
With IMSA adopting GT3 regulations across its production-based classes, it leaves the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series as the remaining series that are set to accept GTE-spec cars next year.
Doonan said it’s “too early to tell” if IMSA’s move will have a global influence.
“We like to share strategies with [the ACO] and make sure we collectively do what’s best for the sport and for the audience and fans of the sport, as well as the manufacturers that participate,” he said.
“We will continue to work with them.
“Obviously a year ago here at this event we announced LMDh.
“If I had a crystal ball, I’d sure hope that it would say we’d find further ways to have convergence but it’s too early to tell on this specifically.”