WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is a sports car racing series based in the United States and Canada and organized by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). It is a result of a merger between two existing North American sports car racing series, the American Le Mans Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. At its inception, the name was United SportsCar Championship,[1] which subsequently changed to the Tudor United SportsCar Championship when Rolex SA signed their Tudor brand to a title sponsorship deal.[2] WeatherTech later signed a deal to take over title sponsorship of the series starting in 2016, rebranding the series.[3]

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship logo.png
CountryUnited States United States
Inaugural season2014
Prototype ClassesDaytona Prototype International (DPi) and Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2)
GT ClassesGT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD)
Tire suppliersContinental (2014-2018 Prototype and GTD only)
Michelin (2014-2018 GTLM only; 2019-present expanding to full exclusive tire supplier)
Drivers' championDPi: United States Dane Cameron
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
GTLM: New Zealand Earl Bamber
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
GTD: Germany Mario Farnbacher
United States Trent Hindman
Teams' championDPi: United States Acura Team Penske
GTLM: United States Porsche GT Team
GTD: United States Meyer-Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian
Makes' championDPi: Japan Acura
GTLM: Germany Porsche
GTD: Italy Lamborghini
Official websitesportscarchampionship.imsa.com
Motorsport current event.svg Current season

The season begins with its premier race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the last weekend of January and ends with the Petit Le Mans, another North American Endurance Cup race, in early October.

HistoryEdit

On September 5, 2012 it was announced that the Grand-Am Road Racing sanctioning body would merge with the Braselton-based International Motor Sports Association, and as such, both bodies would merge their premiere sports car series, the Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series respectively, with plans to debut in 2014. On November 20, 2012 the merger committee announced that SME Branding were selected to develop the name, logo and identity of the new series.[4]

 
2014 Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen

On January 8, 2013, the two series' announced a preliminary class structure for the new merged series. Grand-Am's Daytona Prototype category and IMSA's P2 would combine into a single-prototype class, with allowances for the unique DeltaWing to also compete in the new class. The Le Mans Prototype Challenge class of single spec cars from the American Le Mans Series would continue as is, although the cars will switch to Grand-Am's Continental Tires.[5] The GT class of the American Le Mans Series would remain unchanged, while Grand-Am's GT class will form another GT class, and be combined with the American Le Mans GTC category.[6] The only category of cars not represented in the new series is the American Le Mans Series' P1 category.

The reveal date for the new series was March 14, 2013 at the Chateau Élan Hotel and Conference Center at Sebring International Raceway, two days before the 12 Hours of Sebring. American Le Mans CEO Scott Atherton announced the new sanctioning body would remain IMSA while Ed Bennett revealed the new titles for the series' five classes. SME Branding Senior Partner Ed O'Hara then announced the new United SportsCar Racing title and logo, a name submitted through a contest won by Louis Satterlee of Florida, a racer in the Florida Karting Championship Series.[7]

On August 9, 2013, Fox Sports 1 announced it had signed a TV contract with IMSA to televise the entire USCC season between 2014 and 2018.[8]

Later, on September 12, 2013, Tudor was announced as the title sponsor for the series, which was named the United SportsCar Championship. On August 8, 2015, WeatherTech was announced as the new title sponsor for the series, renaming the series to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, starting with the 2016 season.[9]

Beginning with the 2019 season the series is covered exclusively by NBC Sports in the United States. The NBC broadcast network will air nine hours of coverage annually, with the majority of the coverage airing on NBCSN. CNBC and the NBC Sports app will provide supplemental coverage.[10][11]

Michelin Pilot ChallengeEdit

Originally based on a Canadian series before being acquired by Grand-Am, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (originally known as Grand-Am Cup) is a production-based touring car series. The series is split into two classes known as Grand Sport (GS), intended for large capacity GT-style cars, and Street Tuner (ST), consisting of smaller sedans and coupes, some of which are front-wheel drive. The IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge until 2013 supported some Rolex Series races but also headlined some of its own dates. This series continued with the United SportsCar Championship after the merger and is somewhat comparable to the old Trans Am Series.

Class structureEdit

There are four classes in the SportsCar Championship series, featuring two sports prototype category and two grand tourer classes:

Sports prototypes:

  • Daytona Prototype International (DPI): The flagship class of the championship, featuring cars built to IMSA's Daytona Prototype International regulations, which are based upon the 2017 Le Mans Prototype LMP2 cars. Previously, the DPis had competed against their base LMP2 counterparts in the Prototype class from 2017-18. The Prototype class had originally consisted of Grand-Am's Daytona Prototypes with the American Le Mans Series LMP2 prototypes, and the DeltaWing, before the original Daytona Prototypes, and the DeltaWing were phased out of competition at the end of 2016, and replaced by the new DPi cars. Starting in 2019 the LMP2 cars were split into a separate Pro-Am class.
  • Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2): A new class for 2019, it features pro-am driver lineups. The class features cars built by Automobile Club de l'Ouest's (ACO) 4 licensed manufacturers (Riley-Multimatic, Ligier, Oreca and Dallara) to the specifications of the FIA/ACO 2017 Global LMP2 regulations.

Grand Touring clases:

  • GT Le Mans (GTLM): A continuation of the ALMS GT class, it consists of cars matching the ACO's GTE specification.
  • GT Daytona (GTD): a class that combined the Grand-Am GT & GX classes with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars from the ALMS GTC class. Starting in the 2016 season the class adopted full FIA GT3 specifications.

Some races may only use selected classes of cars, for example: Any class car may be permitted entry into the Rolex 24, while at the Grand Prix of Long Beach only the Daytona Prototype International (DPI) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) are entered. LMP2 and GTLM classes are compatible with regulations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.[12]

CircuitsEdit

Races in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as of 2018. Green dots represent circuits that are a part of the North American Endurance Cup. White dots represent former circuits.
Course Years
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 2014Present
Circuit of the Americas 20142017
Daytona International Speedway 2014Present
Detroit Belle Isle Street Circuit 2014Present
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2014
Kansas Speedway 2014
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 2014Present
Lime Rock Park 2015Present
Long Beach Street Circuit 2014Present
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2018Present
Road America 2014Present
Road Atlanta 2014Present
Sebring International Raceway 2014Present
VIRginia International Raceway 2014Present
Watkins Glen International 2014Present

ChampionsEdit

IMSA ChampionshipEdit

DriversEdit

2014–2018
Season Prototype Prototype Challenge GT Le Mans GT Daytona
2014   João Barbosa
  Christian Fittipaldi
  Jon Bennett
  Colin Braun
  Kuno Wittmer   Dane Cameron
2015   João Barbosa
  Christian Fittipaldi
  Jon Bennett
  Colin Braun
  Patrick Pilet   Townsend Bell
  Bill Sweedler
2016   Dane Cameron
  Eric Curran
  Alex Popow
  Renger van der Zande
  Oliver Gavin
  Tommy Milner
  Alessandro Balzan
  Christina Nielsen
2017   Jordan Taylor
  Ricky Taylor
  James French
  Patricio O'Ward
  Antonio García
  Jan Magnussen
  Alessandro Balzan
  Christina Nielsen
2018   Eric Curran
  Felipe Nasr
Not held   Antonio García
  Jan Magnussen
  Bryan Sellers
  Madison Snow
2019–
Season Daytona Prototype International Le Mans Prototype GT Le Mans GT Daytona
2019   Dane Cameron
  Juan Pablo Montoya
  Matt McMurry   Earl Bamber
  Laurens Vanthoor
  Mario Farnbacher
  Trent Hindman

TeamsEdit

2014–2018
Season Prototype Prototype Challenge GT Le Mans GT Daytona
2014   #5 Action Express Racing   #54 CORE Autosport   #93 SRT Motorsports   #94 Turner Motorsport
2015   #5 Action Express Racing   #54 CORE Autosport   #911 Porsche North America   #63 Scuderia Corsa
2016   #31 Action Express Racing   #8 Starworks Motorsport   #4 Corvette Racing   #63 Scuderia Corsa
2017   #10 Wayne Taylor Racing   #38 Performance Tech Motorsports   #3 Corvette Racing   #63 Scuderia Corsa
2018   #31 Action Express Racing Not held   #3 Corvette Racing   #48 Paul Miller Racing
2019–
Season Daytona Prototype International Le Mans Prototype GT Le Mans GT Daytona
2019   #6 Acura Team Penske   #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports   #912 Porsche GT Team   #86 Meyer-Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian