Photo: Courtesy of IMSA

Friday IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America Notebook

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin — Acura Team Penske has set the early benchmark in Friday practice for the IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America.

The championship-leading No. 6 ARX-05 of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya set the fastest lap time in both morning and afternoon sessions. The fastest lap of the day went to Cameron at 1 minute, 50.007 seconds to average 132.471 mph. Second fastest overall was the No. 54 CORE Autosport Nissan DPi which has the benefit of being the only DPi manufacturer to not have weight added to it in the latest BoP table updates.

In GTLM, Porsche led in both sessions with the No. 911 leading in the morning and the No. 912 leading in the afternoon. The No. 911 had the fastest GTLM time of the day with a lap of 2 minutes, 2.147 seconds to average 119.305 mph. The eight car GTLM field were within 1.2 seconds of each other in the morning and 1.6 seconds of each other in the afternoon.

Three cars were in the top four of both sessions for GTD. The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, the No. 33 Riley Motorsports AMG Mercedes GT3 and the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 were all within the top four of both sessions. The gap from first to last in GTD went from 3.2 seconds in the morning to 2.4 seconds in the afternoon.

Friday evening, however, was highlighted by the annual IMSA State of the Series address co-hosted by IMSA President Scott Atherton and IMSA Radio Host and worldwide sports car racing broadcaster John Hindhaugh. Highlighted in the announcement were many things for 2020.

IMSA will retain the same venues in the same order for the 2020 calendar year. The DPi class will have no noticeable changes for 2020 but LMP2 will be downsized a bit. The second prototype class will only attend six races next season at Daytona, Sebring, Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, Road America, Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta.

While that actually adds up to seven venues, there is a massive change for LMP2 in that the Rolex 24 at Daytona will not count for the 2020 LMP2 overall championship and instead will be a stand-alone event. The Rolex 24 will, however, still count for the Michelin Endurance Cup for LMP2 cars. More changes will be detailed for the LMP2 class below.

In GTLM, the biggest change comes from the fact that Chevrolet will homologate the new mid-engined Corvette, the C8.R, and Porsche will homologate a new Porsche 911. GTLM otherwise remains unchanged for 2020.

GTD, however, has a couple of changes for 2020. Bronze and silver-rated drivers in GTD and LMP2 will get an additional set of Michelin tires for each WeatherTech Championship weekend and instead of getting their own practice time at the end of practice session one, they instead will get their own track time at the beginning of practice session two.

In addition, the bronze and silver drivers will have an additional 15 minutes of track time with the rest of the classes on track at the same time so the amateur-rated drivers will get more experience running in traffic. The WeatherTech Sprint Cup remains unchanged from 2019 as does the decision to exclude Detroit from the overall championship results for GTD teams that do not want to participate.

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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.