The successful 24H Series powered by Hankook championship is poised to expand into North America next year, with a new 24-hour race planned at Circuit of The Americas.
Sportscar365 has learned that Creventic, the Dutch organizers of the FIA-recognized International Endurance Series, is in the planning stages for an event featuring GT3, GT4, Cup class and touring car machinery, provisionally scheduled for Nov. 3-5, 2017.
It would be the first race outside of Europe and the Middle East for the championship, which launched off the heels of the popular Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai.
“We have a letter of intention with COTA and are now waiting for the draft contract,” Creventic’s Ivo Breukers told Sportscar365. “We are waiting for the final details.”
Breukers said the race would be part of the 24H Series but be a non-points paying round due to the logistics and overall costs required for European teams.
However, they are still targeting a 40-50 car grid, comprised of 20 European teams, and 20-30 U.S.-based cars, with plans to offer entry fees at the same price as Dubai, including sea freight.
An air freight option would be available for 5,000 Euros for one-way travel, Breukers said.
“We are going to subsidize it a little, as flying is normally a bit more expensive,” Breukers said. “But we want to do that to have the European teams able to have access to their car as long as possible.
“At COTA, they can decide to fly the car back to Europe or ship it in a container to Dubai.”
Breukers said the majority of cars currently competing in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Pirelli World Challenge, as well as the GT Daytona category of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship would be eligible.
“We’ve already spoken to several American teams and they’re saying it’s a great idea,” Breukers added. “We want to make endurance racing possible for as many people as possible, and to enjoy the races too.”
The 24 Hours of COTA would result in an expanded calendar of seven races next year, alongside an expected five-round championship for its new-for-2016 touring car series.
It would mark only the second professional 24-hour race in the U.S., joining the Rolex 24 at Daytona, as well as the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, which is America’s longest continuous endurance race.
A formal announcement and more details on the event is expected in the coming weeks.