IMSA has moved its Michelin GT Challenge at VIR to avoid a clash with the new 24 Hours of Le Mans date and postponed its Motul Petit Le Mans season finale in the process.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT-only round at Virginia International Raceway will no longer run on Aug. 20-22, which is when Le Mans is now taking place.
The GT Le Mans and GT Daytona categories will instead head to VIR for a race on Oct. 9. It will now serve as the final round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup for GTD.
Pushing the VIR event back to early October is set to give clearance for teams and drivers from the WeatherTech Championship’s GT classes to appear in the French 24-hour race.
However, the new date is part of the weekend on which the ten-hour Petit Le Mans IMSA season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta had originally been scheduled.
IMSA has duly moved Petit Le Mans, which marks the final round of the season for all five WeatherTech Championship classes, to Nov. 13.
This new date falls on the same mid-November weekend as the inaugural Creventic 24 Hours of Sebring.
Both date changes will affect the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge support series, which remain as part of the VIR and Road Atlanta event bills.
IMSA had said that the respective manufacturer organizers of the other support championships – Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires and Porsche Carrera Cup North America – will communicate their own schedule updates.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo NA was due to appear at VIR, while the Mazda MX-5 Cup was set for Road Atlanta. Porsche Carrera Cup NA had races planned for both events.
“Given the momentum we are carrying in regard to television viewership, it is important for us to preserve live, NBC network windows,” said IMSA President John Doonan.
“Holding our season finale in November proved successful last year in Sebring, and we have every reason to believe we can be successful again this November at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
“As always, we are grateful to all of our stakeholders – and particularly our promoter and television partners – for their flexibility and understanding as we maneuver through these changes.”
2021 WeatherTech Championship Schedule (Revised):
Jan. 22-24 – Roar Before Rolex 24 (DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD)
Jan. 28-31 — Rolex 24 at Daytona (DPi, LMP2*, LMP3*, GTLM, GTD)
March 17-20 — Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD)
May 14-16 — Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (DPi, LMP3, GTD)
June 4-5 — Detroit Belle Isle (DPi, LMP2, GTD**)
June 24-27 — Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD)
July 2-4 — Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (DPi, LMP3, GTLM, GTD**)
July 16-17 — Lime Rock Park (GTLM, GTD)
Aug. 6-8 — Road America (DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD)
Sept. 10-12 — WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD)
Sept. 24-26 — Long Beach (DPi, GTLM, GTD)
Oct. 7-9 — Virginia International Raceway (GTLM, GTD)
Nov. 11-13 — Motul Petit Le Mans (DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD)
*LMP2, LMP3 races not counting for season-long points
**IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup only