DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Forty-one entries will compete on a full-time basis in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA announced Wednesday.
“IMSA is proud to offer such a strong field of world-class race cars from some of the greatest and most admired automobile manufacturers for the full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “The commitments we have received show strength and continuity for IMSA and our promoter partners. We are grateful to our race teams, manufacturers and all of our stakeholders for this ringing endorsement of IMSA and the WeatherTech Championship.”
The Prototype (P) class features eight full-time entries set to battle for the full season. The count includes four Corvette Daytona Prototypes, a pair of Mazda Prototypes, one Honda/Ligier JS P2 and the DeltaWing in the final season under current regulations that include Daytona Prototypes and LM P2 race cars.
The 2017 season will feature new technical regulations for the Prototype class with the introduction of new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and LM P2 race cars. Both examples will use the same basic chassis built by one of four approved constructors: Dallara, Onroak Automotive, ORECA and Riley/Multimatic. DPi cars will be powered by a variety of different engine manufacturers and use manufacturer-specific bodywork, while LM P2 cars all will use engines built by Gibson Technology.
There are 10 full-time entries slated for the factory-supported GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Five different manufacturers – BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche – each are represented by two race cars apiece in what is considered by many to be the most competitive class of GT racing in the world.
The GT Daytona (GTD) class – which made a shift to full international GT3 technical regulations prior to the season – leads the way with 16 entries. Teams representing seven different manufacturers – Audi, BMW, Dodge, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus and Porsche – have filed “premium” entries for all events. The new Lexus, fielded by F Performance Racing, is expected to debut later this season in the GTD class.
A total of seven full-season entries are represented in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class. In 2016, the venerable ORECA FLM09 chassis and spec-Chevrolet engine package will see some technical upgrades that will debut in the next WeatherTech Championship race, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.