IMSA tweaks GTD-class rules for 2023
Last month, IMSA president John Doonan revealed that from next year there will be a Bob Akin Bronze Cup Award, honoring the top Bronze-rated drivers in GTD at each race, along with end-of-season recognition at championship ceremony and entry into the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Doonan also confirmed that the first 15 minutes of Practice 2 for every WeatherTech Championship race will continue to be reserved for the GTD, LMP2 and LMP3 classes.
Today, it was confirmed that a driver of any categorization – Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum as shown on the FIA Driver Categorization List – will be allowed to qualify the car to earn its starting position and qualifying points, whereas currently it must be the Bronze driver in the line-up who sets grid position.
However, non-Bronze drivers will be required to start the race using the set of tires on which they completed their qualifying run, whereas should a Bronze driver qualify the car, he or she may start the race on any set of tires from that entry’s car’s allocation and without penalty.
In addition to the overall Bob Akin Bronze Cup championship, IMSA will recognize the top three Bronze-rated finishers in the season standings during WeatherTech Night of Champions.
“Bronze-rated drivers literally make it possible for their teams to go racing – not only in the WeatherTech Championship GTD class, but in many other IMSA classes and series,” Doonan said. “These drivers provide vital funding for their teams and have provided the backbone of sports car racing throughout its history. These enhancements will provide more benefits for Bronze-rated drivers in the GTD class and focus more well-deserved attention on their success in the WeatherTech Championship.”
In addition to the Bob Akin Bronze Cup enhancements, IMSA also announced the return of the WeatherTech Sprint Cup for the GTD class in 2023. This comprises the seven races on the 2023 schedule that are 2hr40min or less. As has been the case in previous years, WeatherTech Sprint Cup driver, team and manufacturer champions will be honored at season’s end.
However, there will be no Sprint Cup-only races in 2023. The full WeatherTech Championship GTD schedule includes all 11 races next year. Within the overall championship, the seven sprint races count toward the Sprint Cup and the four endurance races count toward the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
Interestingly, IMSA also revealed today that during this off-season it will review its Sporting Regulations & Series Supplementary Regulations, including Timing and Scoring of drive time, which defines how much time is spent in-cockpit under green-flag conditions by the amateur and how much by the pro.