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TUSC Set To Further Recognize Pro-Am P, GTLM Drivers

Pro-Am drivers to receive greater recognition…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Against the backdrop of the Lone Star Le Mans – the only 2014 event featuring both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship – IMSA and ACO officials have unveiled an expanded program to recognize top-performing Pro-Am drivers in the Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes beginning in 2015.

The Jim Trueman Award will be utilized to recognize the top-finishing Pro-Am in the P class, while the Bob Akin Award will recognize the best Pro-Am racer in GTLM on both a per-race and season-long basis. The winners will be recognized during podium ceremonies at each TUDOR Championship event, and the highest Pro-Am points finishers in both classes will earn season-ending awards at the annual TUDOR Night of Champions.

Additionally, the season-ending Trueman and Akin Award winners will have the opportunity to earn automatic invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans event in 2016 from their participation in IMSA. The Bob Akin Award winner would earn an entry in the LM GTE Am class at Le Mans, while the Jim Trueman Award winner would be eligible to compete in the LM P2 class with a car registered in the appropriate ACO homologated category.

“For the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and IMSA these two invitations to the Le Mans 24 Hours underline our common will to build a championship in the purest tradition that gives endurance racing its particular strength,” said Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO.

“Together, we’re building up the Lone Star Le Mans rendezvous, which will become another key center of world endurance racing in the pure Le Mans spirit that the ACO has defended since 1923 and the creation of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

“In 2015, two Pro-Am drivers will be given an automatic invitation for the following year’s Le Mans 24 Hours depending on their results. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is delighted that these two invitations will enable two drivers from our sister series, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, to fulfill their dream and race at Le Mans, thus strengthening the already tightly knit links between the ACO and IMSA.”

Drivers must have either a Silver or Bronze rating and have built a career in another profession outside of auto racing to be eligible for Trueman or Akin Awards.

To win the season-ending award and the Le Mans automatic invitations, they must compete in the four Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup events (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta) at minimum. Trueman and Akin points and awards will be presented at every TUDOR Championship event.

“Pro-Am drivers have been and likely always will be the heritage of sports car racing,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “We are very pleased to further build on the collaborative strategic alliance between the ACO and IMSA, while further building sports car racing around the world.

“Our Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes have been specifically organized to include mandatory Pro-Am combinations, but a number of Pro-Am drivers also have aspirations and dreams to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“This expanded program enables those drivers not only an opportunity to race at Le Mans, but to also gain experience driving the same cars they race here in the TUDOR Championship in North America.”

The Jim Trueman and Bob Akin Awards originated in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in 2005. The Jim Trueman Award – named after the legendary sports car racer, former president of Red Roof Inns and former owner of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – was presented to the top Pro-Am driver in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class every year through 2013.

The Bob Akin Award also debuted in 2005 to honor the top Pro-Am driver in the Rolex Series GT class. The Award’s namesake was a two-time winner of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (1979 and 1986) and was president of the Hudson Wire Company. The Bob Akin Award also was last presented in the Rolex Series in 2013.

This year, the Jim Trueman Award will be presented to the championship-winning Pro-Am driver in the TUDOR Championship PC class, while the Bob Akin Award will go to the Pro-Am driver that wins the GTD class championship. Both will be presented at the TUDOR Night of Champions at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York on Monday, Oct. 13.

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  1. Matt

    September 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Yay everyone wins. Is this elementary school?

    • brent

      September 21, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      What a stupid idea. IMSA you are FAILING ! You just lost ESM & others are on the way out. This little trophy won’t help get teams to want to race in P nor what AM is going to want to race in GTLM against FACTORY teams ??!!

      • Nick

        September 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm

        I think they’re trying to incentivize more Pro-Am drivers into the series. I could only think that Aston Martin would be a viable candidate, as well as Dempsey

      • Jermo

        September 22, 2014 at 3:38 am

        ESM is still in TUSC. The 2 car actually was in the Tudor race. They just saw a cool chance to race on the big stage so they took it. they figured it wasn’t a big deal seeing that the #1 car is already out of the running for the championship. They also said it would be good practice for Petite.

        • Bakkster

          September 22, 2014 at 6:43 am

          You must have missed the news, ESM is skipping Petit to race in Shanghai.

      • Bakkster

        September 22, 2014 at 6:48 am

        I’m guessing they might get some bites. If they don’t, it’s likely due to being announced so late in the year. I see it aimed at the gentleman driver looking for an invite to Le Mans who might otherwise race ELMS.

        The key is this is targeting drivers just for the full NAEC. Instead of running five 4-hour races, they can race the Rolex, Sebring, Glen, and Petit and probably get more seat time doing it. Don’t need the pace of a factory team to score a decent result in endurance racing, and you only need to beat any other amateurs to get the invite.

  2. Greg

    September 22, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Better than making up completely new classes for them. I see this as a win and if this is what it takes to get rid of PC then I’m all for it.

  3. Perplexed Apex

    September 22, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Why does everyone have such hatred for the PC cars??

    • Doug

      September 23, 2014 at 1:20 am

      Because they are ugly, slow, ugly, and boring. They were created as cheap field filler and have out lived their usefulness.

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