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Mazda Raceway TUSC Round to Feature All Four Classes in One Race

Mazda Raceway TUSC round to revert to an all-car, all-class single race…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

In a change from what was originally scheduled, the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship championship will be a single two-hour, 40-minute race, and not split two-hour races of Prototype/GT Le Mans and Prototype Challenge/GT Daytona as it was in 2014.

IMSA confirmed the switch to a single-race format as part of confirming its finalized TV schedule on the FOX Sports networks. The Mazda Raceway race, set for May 3, will air live on FOX Sports 1 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET.

IMSA President/COO Scott Atherton told Sportscar365 during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test that the Mazda Raceway round could be open to being switched to a single race rather than two, depending on car count and available pit space.

“We believe we have an opportunity to combine them and have it make sense, but that decision hasn’t been made,” Atherton said during the Roar.

“We’d have to work directly with the track. The numbers are right at the very limits of their capacity, so we would have to decide we would make in concert with the promoter as to how to best to position it. We have the option now to go one way or another.”

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to NBCSports.com and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. powderedtoast

    February 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

    FCY ALL TEH LAPS!!

    • Roberto

      February 6, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      no kidding

  2. Bakkster

    February 6, 2015 at 11:45 am

    I was hoping to either keep the split or combine them for a full 4 hours.

    • The Brad

      February 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      +1
      Yes
      Concur
      Keep em split to 2 two hour races, or go back to doing the 4 HOUR.

      Of course, I’d love a 6 hour that goes into the evening.

  3. Jason

    February 6, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Bad call IMSA. I am very angry at this. A P/GTLM format race is always welcome. Keep those pro-am cars from causing wrecks. Both P/GTLM races last year were great.

    100% disagree with this. I am very very upset fan

    • Jason

      February 6, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      I demand an immediate reversal of this decision.

    • Mike

      February 6, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      I know the PC’s can be an issue but last I heard it was a slower DP that took out the PC leader (Colin Braun) with less than 20 minutes to go. It goes both ways and that is racing. But I am sure others will say the PC was in the way. FOx Sports didn’t even show the actual cause of the accident. There are aren’t necessarily bad drivers (well maybe a few) out there in any class but there are bad decisions that are made in a split second by even the best sometimes. That is also racing.

      • Jeremy M

        February 9, 2015 at 2:18 pm

        Sorry I go to Laguna every year. Disagree entirely.

        It was great to have the weekend spread out but the racing was far less exciting, even boring at times.

        I watch Multi Class racing and fell in love with it because I love Multi class, taking classes out defeats the purpose and creates a far worse event for the spectators than we had in AMERICAN LEMANS days.

        If you aren’t a multi class racer at heart go elsewhere, don’t try to change the sport.

        Bottom line is it was ok 1 year, but the FAR MORE BORING RACES that take place are not worth it.

        IT also requires staying in a hotel more. No thanks.

  4. Slow

    February 6, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Good there are only going to be 40 cars anyway. It would be watching 16 Prototype/GTE cars run around for 2 hours.

    • Dan

      February 6, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      Seems like people here would prefer that over a 40 car field. Think some people forgot what multi-class racing is.

      • Slow

        February 6, 2015 at 11:49 pm

        Or they forget this is a 2.4 mile track. I don’t understand why they would want less then 20 cars on a track that size, its horrible watching that in person with so few cars on track. Multi class racing should be more then 2 classes for sure, and it should definitely be more then 16-20 cars.

      • NaBUru38

        February 7, 2015 at 8:47 am

        Dan, I personally get overwhelmed by four-class racing, especially on television. I prefer two-class races, like Super GT.

        • Dan

          February 10, 2015 at 7:11 pm

          That sounds like a personal problem, If you cant follow a series where each class is massively different from each other and distinguished by colored end plates and door numbers and has a leader light system (color coded as well) that tells you what position a car is in class than perhaps sportscar racing isn’t for you.

  5. Charlie

    February 6, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    There is no way this can possibly end well.

  6. Robert

    February 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I’d prefer the 4 or 6 hour duration, but I’m glad to have one more race with all classes taking part at once. After all, we had 22 races between the ALMS and GA like that in 2013, but only had 7 such races for TUSCC last season. If not for this change, we’d be down to only 6 for this year.

    The ALMS started 43 cars at Laguna Seca in 1999, and did rather well, with a fastest lap of 103.1-mph and a race average of 98.4-mph.

    Now, GA started 52 cars in 2005, 44 in 2006, and 41 in 2008. It’s kind of amusing, but the race with 44 cars was noticeably slower than the one with 52 (88 laps instead of 97). When they had 41 cars, they only managed one more lap than they did with a 52-car grid (98 laps).

    We’ll just have to see. A lot will depend on the circumstances, and the perceived need for desperation moves. Also, realistically, if they were split, there would barely be 20 cars in either race.

    • Mike

      February 6, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      I agree I don’t know what races people watch at Laguna Seca as if that place is the culprit of a yellow flag disease. Will there be yellows? Yes, that is racing. Does anyone like them no. Deal with it. This is bad no matter the decision. Bad because car counts are going to suck at Non-NAEC races and bad supposedly because everyone feels that yellows are terrible (agreed).
      As Robert you point out every race depending on circumstances is different and its own story. Let it play out. Will some races end under yellow of course. Will some races be good/bad races whether there are yellows or not, yes. I have been to Laguna Seca the last 5 years for ALMS and TUSC (6 hour format, 4 hour format and last years 2 hour double) now and I can’t remember there being a terrible amount of yellows nor actually can I remember too many terrible finishes in the GT class end of things The finish in GT in the 6 hour race in 2011 went down to the last lap and who after 6 hours would of thought the 3rd place car with 2 laps left was going to win. It was one of the most unbelievable things I had seen in a race live between RLL BMW, Risi Ferrari and FLM Porsche. T
      The split race was particularly more boring to me watching less cars going around. There was less passing of faster classes going up through the slower class traffic, less picks and that is boring.

  7. Hedgey

    February 6, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    People have obviously forgotten that 35-40 car grids used to do fine around LS.

  8. Jeremy M

    February 9, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    – if you think Laguna produces more yellows due to cars you are simply wrong. this is your race control and race officials.

    – Continental challenge went off 2 HUGEEEE CLASSES last year with no cautions.

    – Split format last year was BORING AS PISS AND NO LONGER AMERICAN LEMANS / Multi racing. I was there, i’ve been there for nearly 10 years. I also watch on tv afterwards.

    – Please think before you speak to what you have no clue. Please LOOK AT THE PREVIOUS YEARS CAR COUNT (not last year), far more than 40. You simply do not know as to what you speak.

    • JT

      February 9, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      +1

      I’ll add that at the SCCA Runoffs, at Laguna Seca last October saw “amateurs” fields of 45 to 55 cars of multiple classes in several races. It’s the norm at Mazda Raceway.

  9. Kirk

    February 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I don’t know what the fuss is about whether the races are combined or split. Each way of doing things has pluses and minuses. Personally I like the split races because it allows the fans to follow more of the action. Plus it reduces the likelihood of one class ruining the race for a separate class. Back in the old GTP days most of the races were split, with the GTP and Lights cars running one race while the GTO/GTU cars ran another. One of the best races I ever saw was the GTO/GTU race at Road America in ’90. If the GTO/GTU race had been combined with the prototypes who knows if us fans would have had the opportunity to enjoy the great GTO race?

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