Long Beach has been added to the WeatherTech Sprint Cup schedule, IMSA announced Friday, bringing GT3-spec cars back to the streets of Southern California after a three-year absence.
The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will open the now-expanded eight-round championship on April 18, in what will offer drivers, teams and manufacturers to compete in the “important” market, according to a statement from IMSA.
The 100-minute race, which featured DPi and GT Le Mans cars only this year, will be eligible for Sprint Cup-only points, as is the case in Detroit.
The expansion makes GTD cars eligible at all 12 of the WeatherTech Championship events in 2020, but with the overall GTD championship remaining at ten rounds.
“The GTD class is the largest of the four competing in our flagship series from both a team and driver perspective as well as in the number of manufacturers participating,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton.
“Southern California is the epicenter of car culture in the United States – if not the world – making it a highly desirable market for the manufacturers.
“We believe that by including Long Beach on the WeatherTech Sprint Cup calendar for 2020, it offers a ‘best of all worlds’ scenario for the GTD class.
“It’s not a requirement for those competing for either the WeatherTech Championship or Michelin Endurance Cup, but competitors with GT3 race cars and a desire to participate at Long Beach now have the opportunity to do so.”
The 2020 event will mark the first appearance for GTD at Long Beach since 2017, when Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette co-drove to the class victory in the No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3.