A qualifying session will be added to January’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 to determine the pit box and garage space locations for teams in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
IMSA confirmed the addition on Monday, which will see a 15-minute qualifying session for each of the three classes on Sun. Jan. 7.
The qualifying session is the newest addition to an enhanced weekend schedule that also will include the first-ever IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda race at Daytona on Sat. Jan. 6 with a one-hour, 45-minute race beginning at 1:25 p.m. ET.
“The enhancements planned for the 2018 Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona will bring more excitement to an already intriguing weekend for race fans,” said IMSA Vice President, Competition, Simon Hodgson.
“As we’ve seen over the past several years, every second counts in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, placing a premium on the location of a team’s pit box and garage.
“Likewise, the addition of the first IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda with its new, endurance-racing format will be popular with our fans.”
The fastest-qualifying Prototype will receive the first pit box on pit lane starting at pit-in and also will be assigned to the first garage in the Prototype section of the WeatherTech Championship garage.
The fastest GTD car will receive the second pit box on pit lane and the first garage in the GTD section, with the fastest GTLM car receiving the third pit box and the first garage in the GTLM section.
Prototype and GT Le Mans class cars will pit together under a full course yellow, in a change to the sporting regulations for next year.
Therefore, to give class separation in the pits, P and GTLM teams are assigned pit boxes to ensure they are separated by a GTD Team.
Once the fastest cars in each class have been accounted for, the process will repeat with the second-fastest Prototype, GTD and GTLM cars receiving their pit assignments and continuing until all cars have been accounted for.
Entrants fielding multiple cars in the same class will be assigned adjoining pit boxes based on the fastest qualifying car being placed toward pit-in, while entrants of multiple cars in different classes will be assigned at IMSA’s discretion. Entrants of multiple cars in the same class will be assigned adjoining garages based on the same criteria.
Consideration will be given to teams entering cars in multiple classes. However, all decisions by IMSA are final.