2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule unveiled: 'Date equity' key to familiar look
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series will visit 12 venues in 2020.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship officials and their partners figured why mess with a good thing as the series announced a 2020 schedule on Friday night that remains virtually unchanged from its 2019 version.
And if it needed any affirmation that it has hit on something good with its current lineup of races, consider that five of the 12 events on the 2019 WeatherTech Championship schedule – led by the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts at No. 1 – recently were selected among the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice for North America’s Best Motorsports Races.
At Friday evening’s annual “State of the Series” presentation at Road America, IMSA president Scott Atherton unveiled the 2020 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, as well as the NBC Sports networks that will carry each race next year.
A key enhancement for the 2020 WeatherTech Championship television package is that the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and the final two events of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will have NBC network television coverage. In addition, all races also will have live, flag-to-flag coverage in the United States on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com
The schedule includes the same dozen events and venues where the WeatherTech Championship has raced since 2018. All 12 events will be held within a week or less of their 2019 event date.
“We’ve said it numerous times in the past, but one of the strongest attributes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship continues to be the 12 events, facilities and promoter partners that make up our schedule each year,” said Atherton. “There isn’t much in the way of ‘breaking news’ as it relates to our 2020 calendar – it’s the same 12 races on largely the same weekends as in 2019 – but that speaks to the strength of those events, the date equity we’ve earned over the past several years and the overall stability of IMSA.”
The 2020 season will open with the 58th Rolex 24 at Daytona on the famed 3.56-mile, Daytona International Speedway circuit, on the weekend of Jan. 23-26. Television coverage of the Rolex 24 will be carried on a combination of the NBC network, as well as NBCSN. In addition to kicking off the 12-race 2020 WeatherTech Championship season, the Rolex 24 also will launch the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup season.
All four WeatherTech Championship classes, Daytona Prototype international (DPi), LMP2, GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) will be eligible to compete at Daytona. However, the race will not count toward WeatherTech Championship points for the LMP2 class to encourage additional LMP2 teams that may not compete in the full WeatherTech Championship to participate in the Rolex 24.
The same four classes will be back in action at the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on the traditional, third full weekend in March for Round 2 of both the WeatherTech Championship and the Michelin Endurance Cup. The Sebring event weekend is March 18-21 with NBCSN and CNBC television coverage.
The WeatherTech Championship DPi and GTLM classes then head west for the annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach event weekend on April 17-18 and will air on NBCSN. The Long Beach event will be one weekend later than it was in 2019.
All four classes will reunite at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the weekend of May 1-3 with television coverage on NBCSN. This event also kicks off the seven-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup season for the GTD class, which debuted in 2019.
The DPi and GTD machines then head for the Motor City on the weekend of May 29-30 for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic as part of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. The race, which will be televised on NBCSN, will count toward WeatherTech Championship points for the DPi class, while it only will count toward Sprint Cup points for GTD, as was the case for the first time this year.
Watkins Glen International retains its traditional midsummer spot on the calendar for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen event weekend on June 25-28 with NBCSN coverage. The race wraps up the first half of the WeatherTech Championship schedule while at the same time kicking off the second half of the Michelin Endurance Cup season.
On the following weekend – July 3-5 – the DPi, GTLM and GTD machines make the annual trek north of the border to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on NBCSN. The LMP2 class – which participated at CTMP in 2019 – will take this weekend off in 2020.
Next up will be the first of two GT-only races as the GTLM and GTD classes step into the spotlight at Lime Rock Park on July 17-18 with NBCSN coverage. All four WeatherTech Championship classes then will reunite two weeks later at Road America on the weekend of July 31-Aug. 2. Owing to NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the race will be televised on CNBC.
VIRginia International Raceway hosts the second and final GT-only event on the season on the weekend of Aug. 21-23 with NBCSN coverage. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will feature all four classes on the weekend of Sept. 11-13 for the penultimate round of the WeatherTech Championship, as well as the WeatherTech Sprint Cup season finale. It will be televised on the NBC network.
Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta once again will close out both the WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Endurance Cup season with 10 hours of racing on Oct. 7-10. A combination of NBC network and NBCSN coverage is planned.
In addition to the race schedules, IMSA also confirmed that the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona will be held on the weekend of Jan. 3-5, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway. The test will be mandatory for all Rolex 24 participants. For the second consecutive year, there will be no IMSA-sanctioned testing other than the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
The complete schedule follows below.
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