ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule was unveiled Friday in Road America’s new victory lane in front of an audience of stakeholders, media and race fans.
The schedule features venue stability as all 12 race tracks that have hosted WeatherTech Championship events since the 2015 season are again on next year’s schedule.
However, the schedule does include a few notable alterations and date shifts for two events. The event at Circuit of The Americas – which has been run in September since the WeatherTech Championship’s inception in 2014 and also hosted an American Le Mans Series event in September 2013 – will move into the spring in 2017. In addition, the event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – which has traditionally been run in late April or early May – moves to September in 2017 as the penultimate round of the WeatherTech Championship.
“The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship once again features 12 of the most iconic road-racing facilities in North America,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “These venues have outstanding support from race fans, and deliver exposure in important and strategic markets for our competitors and stakeholders. Aside from a couple of date changes and adjustments to the WeatherTech Championship content at some events, there are no major surprises. This schedule represents the stability of our racing platform and a continuation of IMSA featuring the best-of-the-best racetracks and event promoters.”
The WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class will compete in all 12 events, while the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class is slated for 11 races. The Prototype (P) class will be featured in 10 events, and the Prototype Challenge (PC) class will have an eight-race schedule in 2017.
The 2017 WeatherTech Championship season opens with the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona on the weekend of January 26-29 at Daytona International Speedway, followed by the 65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida at Sebring Int’l Raceway on March 15-18. All four WeatherTech Championship classes will compete in the pair of Florida endurance racing classics, which also represent the first two rounds of the four-race North American Endurance Cup.
The WeatherTech Championship then heads west to the streets of Long Beach, California, for the BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach on April 7-8. The prestigious Southern California street race will include the Prototype and GTLM classes racing alongside the GTD class for the first time in 2017.
Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas will represent round four of the season with all four classes competing in a race into the night on the weekend of May 5-7. The WeatherTech Championship will be joined by three other IMSA-sanctioned series. From there, the WeatherTech Championship goes to the streets of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on June 2-3 for a sprint race including the Prototype, PC and GTD classes.
The third Patrón Endurance Cup event of the season returns to Watkins Glen Int’l in Watkins Glen, N.Y., for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on the weekend of June 30-July 2, followed by the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario on July 7-9. Both races again will feature all four classes.
Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., will host the first of two 2017 races exclusively featuring the WeatherTech Championship GT classes. GTLM and GTD machines will take center stage in the Northeast Grand Prix on July 21-22.
All four classes return to competition at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on the weekend of Aug. 4-6 for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. As has been the case since 2015, the WeatherTech Championship GT classes will once again headline the Michelin GT Challenge weekend at Virginia Int’l Raceway in Alton, Va., on the weekend of Aug. 25-27.
The Prototype, GTLM and GTD classes then return to the west coast on the weekend of Sept. 22-24 for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda in Monterey, Calif., at the world-famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. After a two-week break, the WeatherTech Championship and Patrón Endurance Cup seasons draw to a close at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans on the weekend of Oct. 5-7.
In addition to the full 2017 WeatherTech Championship schedule, IMSA officials also confirmed dates for four sanctioned test sessions, including two set for later this year. A two-day test for all four WeatherTech Championship classes has been scheduled for Nov. 15-16 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, followed by a second Daytona test for the Prototype, GTLM and GTD classes on Dec. 13-14.
The annual Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona three-day test is slated for Jan. 6-8, 2017. A two-day test at Sebring Int’l Raceway for the WeatherTech Championship also is scheduled for Feb. 23-24, 2017.
2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Schedule
Date(s) – Venue – Location – Classes
- Jan. 26-29 – Daytona Int’l Speedway (Rolex 24) – Daytona Beach, Fla. – P/PC/GTLM/GTD
- March 15-18 – Sebring Int’l Raceway (12 Hours of Sebring) – Sebring, Fla. – P/PC/GTLM/GTD
- April 7-8 – Streets of Long Beach – Long Beach, Calif. – P/GTLM/GTD
- May 5-7 – Circuit of the Americas – Austin, Texas – P/PC/GTLM/GTD
- June 2-3 – Belle Isle Park – Detroit, Mich. – P/PC/GTD
- June 30-July 2 – Watkins Glen Int’l (Six Hours of The Glen) – Watkins Glen, N.Y. – P/PC/GTLM/GTD
- July 7-9 – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – Bowmanville, Ontario – P/PC/GTLM/GTD
- July 21-21 – Lime Rock Park – Lakeville, Conn. – GTLM/GTD
- Aug. 4-6 – Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wis. – P/PC/GTLM/GTD
- Aug. 25-27 – Virginia Int’l Raceway – Alton, Va. – GTLM/GTD
- Sept. 23-24 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, Calif. – P/GTLM/GTD
- Oct. 5-7 – Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans) – Braselton, Ga. – P/PC/GTLM/GTD
CREDIT: IMSA Communications