IMSA has drastically altered its points structure for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge series, and its Prototype Challenge class for the 2021 season.
A multiplier of 10 will be applied, taking the current offering of 35 points for a win out to 350 next year. The same multiplier will turn second place into 320 points, third into 300, fourth into 280, fifth into 260, and so on, out to 30th place.
In a bid to add more excitement to WeatherTech Championship qualifying, a new procedure will place demands on Pro and Am drivers in LMP2, GT Daytona, and LMP3, and award points for all five classes.
In the Pro DPi and GT Le Mans categories, single-driver qualifying will be maintained, but points for pole (35), second (32), third (30), fourth (28), fifth (26), etc., down to 30th place, will be given.
“The introduction of qualifying points will bring even more excitement to our event weekends and the season championship,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “With points on the line, we expect teams will go all out in qualifying as well as the races to earn as many points as possible. Qualifying points also will reward a team’s performance throughout an entire weekend.”
In LMP2, GTD, and LMP3, a new format will see the nominated Am drivers venture out for a qualifying session that will determine each car’s starting position. A new set of Michelin tires must be used in the opening Am segment, and those tires must be installed for the start of the race.
A second qualifying segment will follow, with another set of new tires required for use, where Pro drivers battle for qualifying points, with the fastest in each class earning 35, second taking 32, etc.
“Including multiple drivers in qualifying for our Pro-Am classes provides some unique opportunities,” Doonan said. “The Am drivers will continue to play the ultimate role of establishing each car’s starting position, while the Pro drivers should contribute to further showcasing each car’s performance.”
With points on offer in qualifying, a new incentive to avoid sandbagging has been presented, and with the common practice of having Ams qualify and start the races to allow the Pros to take over early in most events and carry the car home, fans will get an opportunity to see IMSA’s top LMP2, GTD, and LMP3 talent put on a show where delivering maximum speed and capturing maximum points is the only purpose of the session.