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Hardwick to WEC; Scales Back IMSA Program Over GTD BoP

Porsche 911 GT3 R Balance of Performance situation a deciding factor to reduce WeatherTech Championship program…

Photo: Jamey Price/Wright

Ryan Hardwick has scaled back his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program with Wright Motorsports while committing to the first three rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship after being “extremely disappointed” with the Balance of Performance situation in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Bronze-rated driver, who secured an automatic invite to the 24 Hours of Le Mans by winning the IMSA Bob Akin Award in 2022, will forgo all WeatherTech Sprint Cup races this year, placing his focus in a Proton Competition-run Porsche 911 RSR-19 in the build-up to the French endurance classic.

Hardwick confirmed that he’s “as of now” set to contest the WEC races at Sebring International Raceway, Portimao and Spa-Francorchamps, along with his previously announced full-season European Le Mans Series program.

“I’ve made this commitment to better prepare for my entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” he said. “The WEC races will enable me to have more seat time in the RSR, and also more time on track with the other cars and drivers I’ll be competing against at Le Mans.

“I am also pulling back what was a full season GTD entry for our Wright Motorsports Porsche. It is now my intent to only run the remaining IMSA Endurance [Cup] rounds.”

Hardwick said there were “multiple factors” at play that led to his decision but stressed his displeasure over the outcome of January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I am extremely disappointed by what took place in the GTD class at Daytona,” he said. “There has been a lot of finger-pointing as to who was at fault for one brand being at such an extreme performance disadvantage compared to the rest of the GTD class.

“Personally, I don’t care who is at fault. I do feel strongly that some changes need to be made.

“What took place during the race was a sad display of just how flawed the current IMSA BoP system truly is. The product that we all put forward on track in Daytona was a disgrace to our fans, our manufacturers, our sponsors, our teams and our drivers.

“The truth is the current BoP process has failed us. All of us. This sport is special because it has historically been a competition among people and it has always rewarded those people who can extract the most performance from their cars.

“Unfortunately, the current BoP process and the IMSA officials who continue to defend it, are severely damaging the true spirit of competition within our sport.

“What took place in Daytona should never happen again, and it is my hope that the manufacturers and IMSA officials will work together to make some much-needed changes, because our sport deserves it.

“The people and sponsors who drive this sport forward deserve it. And most importantly, our fans deserve it.

“I hope that IMSA makes these changes soon, meanwhile I am very much looking forward to competing in the WEC, ELMS and also the 100th Anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.”

Hardwick is not the first to speak out about the Porsche BoP situation in the WeatherTech Championship with fellow Bronze-rated driver Alan Brynjolfsson having taken to social media to express his displeasure as well.

IMSA has not yet issued the BoP for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, although gave the Type-992 Porsches a 1 mm larger air restrictor prior to last month’s sanctioned test at the same track.

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

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