Sunday, August 9, 2015

TUSC: The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Championship calendar unveiled

IMSA Press Release

As part of a “State of the Series” presentation that included the introduction of WeatherTech as new entitlement partner and the announcement of a 10-year extension of official partnerships with TUDOR and ROLEX, IMSA officials unveiled a 12-event schedule for the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The schedule opens with the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31, which will be the debut event at the new Daytona International Speedway motorsports stadium following the completion of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising project. The WeatherTech Championship Prototype (P) class will feature a 10-race schedule, while an 11-race calendar is planned for the Prototype Challenge (PC), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.

Every venue on the 2016 WeatherTech Championship schedule hosted the series in 2015. Notable modifications include the addition of the PC class alongside the P and GTLM classes at Long Beach on April 16, the inclusion of all four classes (addition of GTD) at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 10 and the addition of GTLM to the PC and GTD classes at Lime Rock Park on July 23.

“The schedule of world-class venues that host WeatherTech Championship events continue to be one of IMSA’s most significant assets for our stakeholders and race fans,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “We’ve been able to confirm our following year’s schedule in August for the second consecutive year, which provides clear direction for our teams as they make their plans and speaks to the great relationships we’ve developed with our event promoters. Wherever possible, we’ve also preserved date equity and made strategic additions to the content at some venues, giving us 12 strong events in 2016. I’ve said it before, but our 2016 calendar provides our teams, marketing partners and most especially, our fans, with one of the best schedules in the industry – we couldn’t be more pleased.”

The WeatherTech Championship will continue to be anchored by four prestigious endurance events – also collectively known as the Tequila Patrόn North American Endurance Cup. Following the Rolex 24, the series moves to Sebring International Raceway on March 19 for the 64th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen moves back one week from its traditional date in 2016 to July 3, and the season will conclude on Oct. 1 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia with the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.

In addition to the endurance events and the previously mentioned event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, all four WeatherTech Championship classes also will be featured at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 1, Road America on Aug. 7 and Circuit of The Americas on Sept. 17.

Detroit’s Belle Isle Park again hosts the P, PC and GTD classes on June 4 as GTLM teams take their traditional break for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and VIRginia International Raceway will showcase the two WeatherTech Championship GT classes on Aug. 21.

In addition to the race schedule, IMSA officials an IMSA-sanctioned test for all four WeatherTech Championship classes at Daytona International Speedway on Nov. 17-18. This test will be the first of two IMSA-sanctioned preseason tests at Daytona, joining the Roar Before The Rolex 24, which will be held on Jan. 8-10, 2016.

Complete broadcast details will be released later, but all races again will be televised by FOX Sports.

2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule

Date Event/Venue/Location (Classes Participating)
Jan. 30-31 Rolex 24 At Daytona (All)
Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Florida

March 19 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida (All)
Sebring International Raceway – Sebring, Florida

April 16 Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach (P, PC, GTLM)
Long Beach Street Circuit – Long Beach, California

May 1 Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix (All)
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, California

June 4 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (P, PC, GTD)
Belle Isle Park – Detroit, Michigan

July 3 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (All)
Watkins Glen International – Watkins Glen, New York

July 10 Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance (All)
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

July 23 Northeast Grand Prix (PC, GTLM, GTD)
Lime Rock Park – Lakeville, Connecticut

Aug. 7 Continental Tire Road Race Showcase (All)
Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Aug. 21 Oak Tree Grand Prix (GTLM, GTD)
VIRginia International Raceway – Alton, Virginia

Sept. 17 Lone Star Le Mans (All)
Circuit of The Americas – Austin, Texas

Oct. 1 Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda (All)
Road Atlanta – Braselton, Georgia

Photo credit: Paul Miller Racing / Bob Chapman