24h Le Mans
08/08/2018 - 18:01

Adjustments to the two American IMSA Championship invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans

The winners of the Jim Trueman and Bob Akin trophies awarded to the top Bronze or Silver drivers in the LMP2 and GTD classes respectively at the end of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will once again be granted an invitation to the next running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but now they will be able to do so with a team of their choice even if it is not a participant in the American championship.

The Jim Trueman and Bob Akin trophies are given to Bronze or Silver drivers (amateurs) with the most points at the end of the season, with total driving time as the deciding factor in case of a tie. The winner of the Jim Trueman trophy will earn an invitation to Le Mans in LMP2 and the winner of the Bob Akin trophy will earn one in LMGTE Am.

New rules have been announced by the IMSA, the governing body of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, for the 2019 season, including a return to four classes: the DPi (Daytona Prototype international) and LMP2s will now each have their own class, and like in the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and at the 24 Hours, no balance of performance will affect LMP2 competitors.

The composition of LMP2 driver line-ups will be controlled as it is for Le Mans. In the U.S., teams will be obligated to have at least one Bronze or Silver driver and only one Platinum for all races except the four endurance races of the Michelin Endurance Cup (formerly the North American Endurance Cup or NAEC), which includes the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans.

The GTD class (GT Daytona) will also showcase amateurs and will even have its own mini-championship, the Sprint Cup, which covers seven of the eight short races on the 2019 calendar (Long Beach does not include GTDs) and only one official testing session, the Roar Before the 24 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The IMSA also decided to create a driver evaluation committee set to share its results with the FIA in charge of driver classifications (which could be modified at the beginning of the season).