IMSA Working to Reduce Weekend Schedules, Increase Track Time
While last weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix produced a pair of action-packed races, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competitors spent more days in the paddock than actual days on the track.
IMSA’s new weekend format, which saw teams arrive and unload at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Wednesday but not turn laps until Saturday, has been one of the major talking points, along with a reduced amount of track time over previous seasons in ALMS and GRAND-AM.
“There’s been constant dialogue and it begins right here, internally. Certainly, there was much discussion about that this past weekend. Everybody has an opinion,” IMSA President and COO Scott Atherton told Sportscar365.
“The original thinking and justification for how our schedules were configured, ironically, was to minimize the amount of time at the track and therefore minimize the costs associated with it.”
Atherton admitted the opposite has actually occurred, due to the larger-than-expected TUDOR Championship grids and the required time for each car to go through pre-event scrutineering.
A total of 56 cars were on hand in Monterey, split between the Prototype/GT Le Mans and Prototype Challenge/GT Daytona races. It marked a 64 percent increase in car count from last year’s GRAND-AM race and a 55 percent boost over the ALMS grid there in 2013.
“Because we have so many cars involved, the scrutineering simply takes a substantial amount of time,” Atherton said. “Therefore, the teams do have to be there earlier than we would like, and for sure they would like, but it’s only because we’ve got to put every car through a proper scrutineering process.”
Atherton said changes in the scrutineering schedule could come by the next round at Detroit, which may result in the process being packed into a single, longer day rather than spread out over two.
“We are looking at every element of that, to streamline the process,” he said. “I think you’re going to see some changes as early as Detroit, which will in fact streamline it. From there, it will be a constant evaluation of process and procedure and equipment and personnel.” More at sportscar365.com