Madison Snow says there’s a “massive jump” in going from Silver to Gold rating in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, stating that the GT Daytona class should be for semi-professionals and not necessarily focused on gentlemen drivers.
The newly crowned GTD champion, who remains Silver-rated by the FIA, has been one of two drivers that have had their ratings bumped to Gold by IMSA, with the sanctioning body enacting its right, for the first time, in making specific adjustments at its own discretion.
Having teamed with Bryan Sellers for the past three seasons, the duo took their Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to class victories this year at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and at Lime Rock Park en route to the drivers’ title.
With Sellers remaining Gold-rated, Snow’s adjustment means the pairing will not be permitted to continue as season-long co-drivers in 2019.
“IMSA is trying to say the GTD class is not me and Bryan anymore,” Snow told Sportscar365. “It has been, we’ve had our time, but it’s not us anymore.
“Where I come from, the GTD class should be the semi-professional drivers and the up-and-coming drivers that want to make it their career.
“I don’t think the class, and I’m not saying it is, should be catered around [John] Potter, [Ben] Keating, [Kenny] Habul, [Bill] Sweedler, the weekend warriors who are out there to race and have a good time.
“They’re out there because they enjoy the competition and that’s the most competitive place to race.
“But I think if you start pushing it that way, which it’s hard to say whether they’re doing that now or not, but then you lose the competitiveness and the competition that the class currently has.
“That’s what makes GTD fun. It’s the class that is the most competitive in the U.S. for the type of racing that it is.”
The 22-year-old said that his new rating means he’ll be compared to the likes of factory drivers in the class, which already sees a saturation of manufacturer support.
“For IMSA’s sake, moving me to Gold puts me in the same category as any Platinum driver out there,” Snow said. “I think that’s an issue.
“I don’t think Gold and Platinum should be in the same category; that’s why they’re two separate FIA categories. But in IMSA GTD it makes no difference.
“Am I a fast Silver? Yeah, I’m out there and I can battle with the Golds. Am I someone who can battle with the Platinum drivers out there? I’m not at a factory driver level.
“I have my races and I can do it, but I’m not as good as Patrick Long or Joerg Bergmeister, but that’s who I have to be as good as to race in GTD with a Gold rating.
“I think there’s a massive jump from leaving Silver to competing against Platinums… It should be an easier step than it is right now.”
Snow, who brought a portion of the budget to Paul Miller Racing, said he believes GTD would look “fairly similar” with or without Pro-Am driver enforcements.
“Yeah, there’s factory teams in GTD whether anyone wants to talk about it or not, and they’re going at it hard,” he said. “Would they have faster drivers in there if they were allowed to?
“[Would it be] a whole lot different than who they have now? No, not really.
“It depends on what you want to make GTD. From my perspective, GTD is me and Bryan, or me and Corey [Lewis]. The group of us.
“To me, [Bronze-rated drivers] should be in Michelin Pilot Challenge. That’s where [they] should be racing and coming up.
“The GTD class should be a fast Silver with a Gold or a Platinum driver as they learn how to race… a Silver that can be Gold or Platinum within the next two or three years.”
Snow’s 2019 Plans Up in the Air
Snow said his IMSA-adjusted rating has put his 2019 plans up in the air.
Despite his Silver status by the FIA, which would allow him to race as an amateur overseas and potentially in Blancpain GT World Challenge America, the Utah native indicated his desire to remain in the IMSA paddock.
“I already have my IMSA license, I got that done at Petit,” Snow said. “There’s no commitment other than that so far. We’re looking at it.
“It’s a good, competitive series, but it definitely changes what we’re able to do with me being a Gold.
“There are other options out there, but once you’re in a series like IMSA you consider it home. You always feel like that’s where you belong.
“You can always go race in SRO, there’s options out there, but we don’t really know what we’re going to do right now.”
Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report