***WeatherTech CEO David MacNeil told Sportscar365 the new entitlement sponsorship agreement is a ten-year deal. It replaces TUDOR, which becomes the official timepiece of IMSA through 2025.
***IMSA COO Scott Atherton confirmed that TUDOR’s departure as title sponsor came earlier than its original multi-year agreement. “There was a longer term that was here,” Atherton told Sportscar365. “This is an opportunity that came to us that we were able to orchestrate a very complex process that resulted in our ability to make this announcement tonight.”
***Atherton also confirmed the continuation of Tequila Patron as the title sponsor of the North American Endurance Cup for 2016. Negotiations had been ongoing as late as last month, with the option having been taken up to continue its partnership.
***The 2016 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will see a 50 percent increase in its end-of-year prize fund. More than $4 million in funds will be available to teams competing next year.
***HPD Vice President Steve Eriksen told Sportscar365 they’re in discussions with multiple teams that have expressed interest in running the ARX-04b and/or engine in the WeatherTech Championship next year. Michael Shank Racing plans to continue with the HR28TT powerplant in its Ligier JS P2 next year.
***Starworks Motorsport will return to a two-car PC operation for the final two races of this season. Team owner Peter Baron said he’s received increased interest in the class following the general consensus that the new LMP3 platform will not replace the Oreca FLM09s next year.
***Action Express Racing team manager Gary Nelson said they’re been in discussions with three of the four 2017 LMP2 manufacturers. The defending Prototype champions will continue with a pair of Corvette DPs next year but will be forced to switch to new chassis the following year.
***The Riley-Ave AR-2 LMP3 car is expected to begin on-track testing in late September, with construction of the first chassis set to begin next week. Bill Riley said an end-of-season debut in the European Le Mans Series would be a challenge given the time scale.
***The revised timeframe for the Riley-Ave P3 car means Starworks, which was earmarked as the first AR-2 customer, is unlikely to contest the Paul Ricard and Estoril rounds as originally planned. The team had explored leasing a Ligier JS P2 as an alliterative but it failed to materialize.
***Baron told Sportscar365 they’re working on multiple options for 2016, both in the WeatherTech Championship and in Europe, which range from a two-car Prototype Challenge effort to the possible return of its Dinan-powered Riley DP, as well as a P2 effort in the ELMS with an Oreca 05.
***Continental Tire has brought roughly 2,400 tires to Road America, including a range of slick and wet weather tires, the latter which were used on Friday during the pair of rain-soaked practice sessions.