GT Daytona competitors will have an extra championship to vie for in 2019 after the announcement of the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup, which will be battled for in the seven races of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship that run for two-hour, forty-minutes in length or less.
The points will given out in the same way they are in the main championship but the endurance races the GTD teams and drivers participate in will not go towards the Sprint Cup championship.
Qualifying teams will need to field at least one Bronze or Silver-rated driver per car, who will be paired with another Bronze or Silver-rated driver or a maximum of one Gold or Platinum-rated driver.
IMSA President Scott Atherton has welcomed the announcement as it will offer the often-extensive GTD field more incentives to compete at the highest level of sportscar racing.
“The IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup is a product of constructive feedback from a series of conversations with GTD stakeholders,” said Atherton. “Beginning next season, GTD competitors have the opportunity to compete for three different IMSA titles.
“The IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup offers GTD drivers and teams a relatively cost-effective option to compete at the top level of North American sports car racing. We are grateful to WeatherTech Founder and CEO David MacNeil for his enthusiastic support of this new program.”
The first race of the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup will take place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on 5 May 2019, with all the subsequent races lasting one-hundred and sixty minutes or less counting towards the title, while the one-hundred-minute race around the streets of Belle Isle is set to only count towards the Sprint Cup and not the main championship.
“The new IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup for GTD competitors will add an exciting element to the class,” said David MacNeil, the founder and CEO of WeatherTech. “Putting emphasis on the sprint rounds should attract new competitors to our brand of sports car racing.
“More cars on the track makes for more excitement for the fans and a better show for television.”