Teams in IMSA’s trio of WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes have been given new incentives at the Roar Before The 24.
The official Jan. 5-7 test required for every team planning to compete at the Rolex 24 At Daytona has been altered in an effort to get teams to stay for all three days, which has been uncommon, and for those teams to push as hard as possible until the final checkered flag.
The bait being dangled comes in the final session on Jan. 7 where IMSA has announced it will award prized pit box locations and garage spaces based on the outcome of a 15-minute “qualifying session” for Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona.
“The enhancements planned for the 2018 Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona will bring more excitement to an already intriguing weekend for race fans,” said Simon Hodgson, IMSA’s VP of competition. “As we’ve seen over the past several years, every second counts in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, placing a premium on the location of a team’s pit box and garage. Likewise, the addition of the first IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda with its new, endurance-racing format will be popular with our fans.”
After two full days of testing, approximately half the Roar grid has been known to either leave, or run one of the morning sessions on Sunday prior to packing up and heading home while the afternoon sessions are run.
With the new pit lane/garage qualifying session serving as the final activity on the Roar calendar, IMSA also hopes to capture unadulterated data for use in its Rolex 24 Balance of Performance calculations.
IMSA also announced an interesting rule change for 2018 where the Prototype and GTLM classes will pit together under yellow, and GTD will pit on its own.