IMSA says it is unable to acccommodate the request by FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu to move its race date for Petit Le Mans, following the WEC’s shift of its Fuji round onto the same weekend as the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s season-finale.
The Fuji race was moved forward a week from its original date to avoid a conflict with the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, which would have prevented Fernando Alonso from taking his place in Toyota’s LMP1 line-up due to his contract requiring F1 to take priority. However, the new date places it in conflict with Petit Le Mans, which triggered an angry response from several drivers who were committed to racing at both events.
In response, Neveu called upon IMSA to look at the possibility of a date change for Petit Le Mans to solve the problem. However, on Friday afternoon the U.S. sports car sanctioning body said it would be unable to accommodate this request.
“WEC did ask IMSA to change the date of this year’s Motul Petit Le Mans. IMSA did respectfully consider this request and explored doing so,” an IMSA spokesperson told RACER.
“Due to some factors such as television coverage, IMSA’s year-end banquet on the same weekend and competitor and manufacturer logistics already being in place among others, it was determined there were too many hurdles to overcome to move the event. Therefore the 2018 Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta will take place as scheduled Oct. 10-13.”