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IMSA Forgoes Proposed GTD Bronze Driver Mandate

IMSA instead creates incentives including separate podium for GTD teams with Bronze-rated drivers…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

IMSA will award the Bob Akin Bronze Cup championship to GTD class competitors in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, electing to forgo a change to the class structure as initially planned.

Announced during Friday’s annual ‘State of the Series’ address at Road America, the sanctioning body has confirmed that it will recognize driver lineups featuring at least one Bronze-rated driver in the GTD category.

It will include top Bronze drivers in GTD being on the post-race podium at each race, with the Bob Akin Bronze Cup season champion receiving an entry to the following year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Additionally, there will be 30 minutes of dedicated track time at all events for Bronze-rated drivers.

IMSA is evaluating “additional incentives” for Bronze drivers regarding qualifying format and drive-time of the championship.

GTD will remain open to teams utilizing a ‘professional’ Platinum or Gold driver paired with a Silver, in a change from IMSA’s initial proposal to mandate a Bronze-rated driver in all GTD lineups.

This plan was confirmed by multiple sources who were informed directly by senior-level management from the sanctioning body but is understood to have been reversed earlier this week based on competitor feedback.

“The good news is that the Bob Akin Bronze Cup does have a Bronze mandate,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “We want to add value to the Bronze drivers that have invested with us and maybe those that might invest with us.

“Once again, [we’re] doing what’s right for the sport. This weekend, we have ten of the 11 teams running in GTD that don’t have a Bronze but at the same time we have folks like Ryan Hardwick, folks like John Potter, folks like Rob Ferriol, that have invested heavily and in racing with us happen to have a Bronze rating.

“We’re trying to be respectful of the opportunity for them to continue to compete with us, while also taking a look and assessment of what happens globally with Bronze-mandated championships.

“We’re proud to announce the enhancements.

“There’s some work to be done yet on the qualifying format and drive times. More to come on that. But we’re excited about the opportunity to enhance the Bronze value.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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