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IMSA to Adopt New Worldwide Driver Ratings System in 2015

IMSA working with FIA, ACO and SRO for new worldwide driver ratings..

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Work is underway on a new common set of driver ratings, with IMSA playing a key role in defining the criteria, alongside officials from the FIA, ACO, WEC and SRO.

According to Scot Elkins, IMSA’s VP of Competition and Technical Regulations, the new worldwide ratings will help eliminate discrepancies between some of the lists, which has recently caused some controversy.

“We have a seat on the committee to try to tie everything together so that the ratings are the same worldwide,” Elkins told Sportscar365.

“Right now, there’s a separate list for WEC and FIA GT3. They’ll blend that list together and then take our IMSA list and add it as well. We’ll then have a legitimate, worldwide ratings system for everyone.

“Some of the criteria is changing, even to the point of where we’re looking at producing timing reports after every event so there’s a consistent evaluation of performance can be utilized for everybody.

“We’re going to be the same group and have the same ratings worldwide, so there won’t be any questions anymore.”

While the updated system will still be medallion-based, with Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze ratings, many existing drivers will be re-evaluated by the new committee, which has a meeting set for Oct. 21.

Instead of IMSA’s current system, which rates its drivers internally, Elkins said the worldwide committee will now handle that task for all drivers worldwide.

Elkins said they hope to have a final list of ratings finalized by early November, in advance of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In addition to the tidied up system, IMSA is also evaluating possible changes to the ratings requirements for one of its two Pro-Am classes.

While Prototype Challenge, which mandates at least one Bronze or Silver-rated driver per lineup, is expected to remain unchanged, Platinum, or more precisely, factory drivers, could have limited participation in GT Daytona.

“We’re looking whether it makes sense to have factory drivers in that class or not,” Elkins said. “We’re just starting the conversations and haven’t gone very far with it. We’re looking for some feedback from some of the manufacturers and drivers.

“From the Pro-Am standpoint, there’s a lot of guys who are Gold-rated drivers who may or may not be ‘losing work’ to those guys. So it’s something that’s under review. I don’t know which way we’ll go with it.”

Elkins, however, said there may be considerations for long-distance races, such as the Rolex 24 or Twelve Hours of Sebring, which currently allows for five and four-driver lineups, respectively.

“It’s a unique thing for us at IMSA because depending on the race, we have a different maximum number of drivers,” he said. “One rule may apply to a three-driver race vs. a five-driver race. It’s something we’re considering.”

While a number of non-factory drivers are currently rated at Platinum, that is also expected to change as the system goes through the overhaul during the off-season.

“As things are going to be so worldwide-recognized, we’ll need to tighten those up,” Elkins said.

“If a guy is a Platinum-rated driver right now, he should probably be a Gold if he doesn’t have a factory deal or hasn’t won Le Mans overall, or fitting the criteria. So we’ll clean all those up and tweak on that.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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