If you’re going to go up against NASCAR’s lone visit to Watkins Glen International, you may as well do it right. While IMSA shares its ownership with the stock car racing behemoth, it’s going to do everything it can to deliver a superior product on Sunday, as the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship heads to Road America for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. The ninth round of the season reunites all three IMSA classes—Prototype, GT Le Mans, and GT Daytona—for the first time in a month.
With the 2018 championship headed down the home stretch, the intensity is sure to pick up in the season’s final rounds with a number of close points battles to keep an eye on, and preparations for 2019 already well underway. Don’t miss these three stories to watch as the green flag drops on today’s race—they’re sure to be the ones to shape this weekend’s action and beyond:
How will the impending Daytona Prototype/P2 split affect the 2019 IMSA season?
The move to separate Balance of Performance parameters between the manufacturer-backed and privateer teams (the haves and have-nots?) of IMSA’s premier class should free up factory efforts to take their preparation and performance to the next level starting next year—an eagerly anticipated development for the DPi supporters. But with P2 cars now requiring at least one Bronze or Silver driver in their shift to Pro-Am status, we could see some top names racing for a job in 2018’s final rounds.
Which championship battle will be closer: Prototype or GT Le Mans?
Love or hate Balance of Performance requirements, we’ve got two insanely close points battles atop IMSA’s premier classes. In Prototype, Action Express Racing holds the top two spots with its pair of entries, as Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr lead Filipe Albuquerque by a single point. In GTLM, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Joey Hand and Dirk Müller lead and Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook are third, with Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen between them. Two points separate the trio.
Will we see another repeat winner in GT Daytona this season?
Through seven rounds, six different GTD entries have taken victories this IMSA season, with only Paul Miller Racing drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow finding a way to repeat when they won at Lime Rock Park last month. The top three in GTD points have all won, but Scuderia Corsa, Magnus Racing, and second cars from both 3GT Racing and Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian are still searching for victories with top drivers like Jack Hawksworth and Lawson Aschenbach, respectively.