IMSA will split its Daytona Prototype internationals and spec LMP2s into separate classes starting in 2019.
The factory DPis will no longer receive Balance of Performance adjustments in relation to the privateer P2s, which should unleash a decent amount of speed that has been dialed back under the current DPi/P2 balancing practice. Starting next season, DPis from Acura, Cadillac, Mazda, and Nissan will have a class-specific BoP designed to created parity solely within the DPi class.
In P2, a shift to full Pro-Am status will take place, which creates further alignment with the FIA World Endurance Championship P2 category. At present, IMSA’s P2 teams are permitted to use Pro-Pro driver lineups, and once the new season gets under way, it will transition to the required use of one Bronze- or Silver-rated driver to go with a driver of any rating—most likely a Gold- or Platinum-rated professional—for the standard rounds.
For the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds, up to five drivers will be allowed in P2. Drive-time restrictions will be announced at a later date for Gold- and Platinum-rated drivers in the class for Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Petit Le Mans at Road America.
With the adoption of full Pro-Am rules in P2, the Jim Trueman Award will be given to the Bronze- or Silver-rated driver who finishes the highest in the championship; an entry to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will also be granted. In the Pro-Am GT Daytona class, the same program will continue under the Bob Akin Award banner.
IMSA has developed a new plan for GTD Bronze and Silver drivers that will provide extra track time prior to qualifying, and a policy change has also been implemented where Am drivers who qualify GTD cars must start the race. Ams taking part in the special practice session will be able to purchase an extra set of new dry Michelin tires.
“As we continue to evolve the WeatherTech Championship, we’ve engaged in extensive dialogue with our stakeholders to consider appropriate refinements,” said IMSA Vice President, Competition Simon Hodgson. “The changes we will implement in 2019 are based upon the feedback we’ve received from all WeatherTech Championship class stakeholders in the paddock. We expect the changes will be popular with participants and IMSA fans alike.”