IMSA could be set to make changes to its safety car procedures, while also planning to implement a new on-board camera ID protocol in the wake of Saturday’s caution-filled and controversial Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The second round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship featured a race record-tying 11 full-course caution periods, totaling more than five hours of the around-the-clock endurance classic.
It included a final yellow for a stopped DP car with 51 minutes remaining. The caution lasted 30 minutes and set up a dash to the checkered flag for the second consecutive race.
According to IMSA’s VP of Competition and Technical Regulations Scot Elkins, they were unable to alter the safety car procedure during the event itself but are exploring potential changes to the regulations to ensure increased green flag running time in the future.
“We can’t just change the rules at the end, unfortunately, to make it better,” Elkins said post-race. “So we have to go through the entire pass-around procedure. That’s what it takes to do that. We had a lot of cars, it’s not a short track. It takes a long time.”
The current procedure, outlined in the 2014 IMSA Rulebook, allows for a shortened yellow for any safety car period within 15 minutes of the previous caution or during the last 30 minutes of the race. Neither of those criteria applied in this case.
Elkins, however, admitted there could be changes to the procedure, particularly heading into next month’s 100-minute race on the streets of Long Beach.
“It’s something we try to improve and try to work on every single time and every single day,” he said. “It’s really critical for the next race that we’ve got coming up because it’s such a short race at Long Beach.
“We could effectively kill the race with a really long procedure if something happens. I don’t have an answer yet, but we’re definitely going to work on it very, very strongly before we get to Long Beach.”
On the subject of the incorrect call made to penalize Alex Job Racing in Saturday’s race, due to misidentified on-board footage, Elkins said there will also be changes to help avoid a repeat situation occurring.
“We have some places in the rulebook now,” he said, “and we’re going to make it a little bit better where we actually require any car that has an in-car camera to display the car number within view of the in-car camera so we don’t have a mistake like we had tonight.”
IMSA penalized the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America for an alleged incident with the No. 49 Spirit of Race Ferrari, based off on-board footage that had actually come from the No. 912 Porsche North America entry instead.
The Patrick Long, Joerg Bergmeister and Michael Christensen factory Porsche went onto claim class victory in GTLM without being given a penalty, while the AJR Porsche finished finished fourth in class after serving a stop-and-hold plus 80-second penalty for contact which it did not initiate.
IMSA apologized for the mistake but made no changes to the results or points.