2019 IMSA Detroit Preview

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

DETROIT— The 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship rolls on to The Motor City for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic which has a unique position on the calendar but more on that in the second half of this preview. Let’s look at the field for this Daytona Prototype International (DPi) and Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) only round.

For DPi, it’s the same 11 entries as the last few rounds with only two changes from Mid-Ohio. Mazda Team Joest is back to their normal lineup for the No. 55 RT24-P with Harry Tincknell re-joining Jonathan Bomarito after completing his duties at the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa driving the Ford GT.

The other change is at Juncos Racing with former Juncos Racing Road to Indy driver Victor Franzoni joining Will Owen behind the wheel of the No. 50 Cadillac DPi. Franzoni drove the No. 13 Via Italia Racing Ferrari 458 in GTD at the Rolex 24 but was out of the cockpit until this weekend’s 100 minute race.

GTD is where things get interesting this weekend. For 2019, IMSA instituted a new WeatherTech Sprint Cup for GTD teams that want to contest all non-endurance races and the Detroit round of the championship counts for the Sprint Cup. However, to save some teams money, IMSA decreed that the race this weekend will not count for the overall 2019 championship points total. This led to some cars skipping out on this weekend’s action.

There are three fewer cars in GTD at Detroit compared to Mid-Ohio back in May. The No. 9 PFAFF Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3, the No. 19 Moorespeed Audi R8 LMS and the No. 33 Mercedes AMG GT3 of Riley Motorsports will not be participating at Detroit.

Riley Motorsports are preparing their customer Ford GT to compete in the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans but otherwise they might have come to Detroit.

This race does not have any LMP2 or GTLM cars competing since they are busy preparing for their trip abroad to Le Mans. Qualifying is at 5:20 p.m. Friday afternoon with the race starting on Saturday June 1st at 12:30 p.m. ET.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.