The inaugural Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore at Sebring International Raceway will feature a variety of teams, drivers and manufacturers in IMSA’s Challenge series classes.
The Michelin Encore will highlight IMSA’s LMP3, GT4 and TCR class competitors for the four-hour race at Sebring.
Michelin and IMSA have worked together to provide six “on-track opportunity” days throughout the 2018 season, which has allowed IMSA competitors the chance to sample and learn the Michelin tires at various circuits. IMSA will focus on the three Challenge series classes at the Encore, a special non-points race.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge series will provide the core content of cars. The Michelin Pilot Challenge features a two-class structure with Grand Sport and TCR classes. The GS class runs to GT4 technical regulations. Prototype Challenge uses LMP3 cars exclusively beginning next season.
“The Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore is really the kickoff for Michelin as the official tire of IMSA,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsport, Michelin North America. “We look forward to welcoming and working with our new Challenge class teams and drivers at the Encore event.”
Among the 20 cars entered, the field is split with 12 LMP3, 5 GT4 and 3 TCR cars. This includes entries from Ford, Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen in the GT4 and TCR classes. There are three chassis constructors entered in the LMP3 class, Ligier, Norma and Adess.
Zacharie Robichon and Jon Brownson both won IMSA-sanctioned championships this year and are among those entered in the LMP3 class. Ten 2018 IMSA-sanctioned race winners have already entered. Included among them are Katherine Legge and Kyle Marcelli, who both won races in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class this season.
The four-hour race starts at noon ET on Sunday, Nov. 11 and will be streamed live on IMSA.tv with commentary from the IMSA Radio team led by John Hindhaugh and Jeremy Shaw.
The official weekend schedule includes three practice sessions on Saturday, Nov. 10 as well as a 45-minute Global MX-5 Cup Challenge race on both Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets will be sold at the gate of Sebring International Raceway each day, and military veterans will be admitted free on Sunday (Veteran’s Day) with proper ID. Following Saturday’s on-track action, there will be a concert at 7 p.m. featuring one of country music’s top artists, Love and Theft, along with the Dairy Daughters.
Encore to Focus on IMSA Challenge Series Classes in 2018
The Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore was originally unveiled on the 2017 Motul Petit Le Mans weekend, with plans to include LMP3, GT3, GT4 and TCR race cars.
One of the primary goals of this end-of-year, non-points event is to offer competitors an exciting, free-standing opportunity to experience IMSA and Sebring.
Since the initial announcement more than a year ago, IMSA has continued to listen to its WeatherTech Championship GTD stakeholders – which field GT3 race cars – and have taken into account their concerns regarding increasing costs.
From this engagement and partnership, some 2019 GTD class regulation changes have been developed, including the reduction of one race from the WeatherTech Championship GTD schedule, the elimination of all sanctioned testing except the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona – which has been reduced from three to two days for GTD competitors – and the introduction of the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup, a new, seven-race competition for GTD class competitors within most WeatherTech Championship sprint events two-hour, 40-minutes in length or shorter.
Based on stakeholder feedback, and with the full support of the GTD manufacturers and team partners, GT3 race cars will not participate in the 2018 Michelin IMSA SportsCar Encore.