DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Mikhail Goikhberg and Brian Alder can clinch season championships at the next Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda event weekend, Aug. 22-24 at Virginia Int’l Raceway.
Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, leads the Lites 1 class by 55 points – 156-101 – over Christian Potolicchio this weekend entering Rounds 11 and 12 of the 14-round season. Goikhberg needs to lead by 60 points after Round 11 Saturday or 40 points after Round 12 Sunday to secure his first championship.
Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, leads the Lites 2 class by 78 points over Jerome Mee and needs to start Round 11 to clinch his second consecutive L2 season title.
The coronation of Goikhberg and Alder could take place during a unique event weekend for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Development Series. This is the second time Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda will race concurrently on track with the Prototype Challenge (PC) class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, as the two championships first ran together in early June at Kansas Speedway.
Both races for Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda will be 45 minutes this weekend, an increase of 15 minutes for the first race of the weekend compared to events in which Prototype Lites run alone. Round 11 is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Aug. 23, with Round 12 at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 24.
Practice takes place Friday, Aug. 22, with qualifying at 10:50 a.m. Saturday on the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit at VIR.
Prototype Challenge and Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda cars have similar top speeds, approximately 175 mph in PC and 170 mph for Prototype Lites. But PC cars and their ORECA FLM09 chassis are heavier, with a minimum weight of 1,990 pounds compared to the 1,175-pound Prototype Lites cars and their Élan DP02 chassis. PC cars also use a 6.2-liter, 430-horsepower Chevrolet LS3 V8 engine, while a 2-liter, 240-horsepower Mazda MZR four-cylinder engine powers the L1 division in Prototype Lites.
Goikhberg steam-rolled his competition from March through June, winning five of the first six rounds in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry.
Potolicchio is the hottest driver in the series. He has 62 points combined in the last four rounds in the No. 2 8Star Motorsports entry, more than any other driver, including a second-place and two third-place finishes.
Craig Duerson also remains locked in a tight battle for the Masters championship with John Falb of ONE Motorsports. Falb leads Duerson, 143-126, with two victories and consistent finishes in the No. 77 entry.
The Lites 1 Team Championship also remains tense and tight. JDC Motorsports leads with 182 points, 26 ahead of the tied second-place tandem of 8Star Motorsports and Performance Tech Motorsports. ONE Motorsports is fourth with 136 points, with Comprent Motor Sports fifth with 128.