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IMSA: Competition changes revealed post-Sebring

Apr 3, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Sebring Getty Images

After the first two TUDOR United SportsCar Championship events, there have been several adjustments made to the IMSA Rule Book and Race Control. Here’s the quick recap:

Changes coming to IMSA Race Control include the following:

  • Enforcement of an IMSA rule requiring the display of the car’s number on its in-car cameras.
  • Upgraded video review equipment to high definition (HD).
  • A new system for cross-checking cars and drivers involved in on-track incidents.
  • Addition of a third driver advisor to work alongside the IMSA Race Director and two driver advisors to assist with evaluating responsibility in incidents and other on-track situations.

IMSA also is adjusting its full-course caution procedures to maximize green-flag running time. Changes to the procedures, which will be confirmed by IMSA Rule Book bulletins, are as follows:

  • At events where there is only one prototype class in a race, the pits will be opened for that class when the field is packed up and while GT cars are still performing the Pass-Around procedure. This change will expedite the full-course caution process by a full lap.
  • The “Lap-Down Wave-By” procedure – which provides a strategic opportunity for cars a lap or more behind to gain a lap back by staying on course while leaders make pit stops – will be more limited in its application. There will be no Lap-Down Wave-By in races less than two hours and 30 minutes in length. For races between two-and-a-half hours through six hours, the Lap-Down Wave-By will be used only once in any 90-minute period after 60 minutes from the start of a race. No Lap-Down Wave-By will be used in the last 30 minutes of a race.
  • Efforts also will be made to use “Debris Yellows” where a situation is likely to involve the simple removal of debris or the flat-tow of a stopped car to a safe location. A Debris Yellow includes the Pass-Around procedure, but the pits remain closed until the race is restarted.

  1. testover6370 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    The rule about car numbers visible to in-car cameras is insulting to the entrants. IMSA mandated color-coded numbers, wing endplates, and windshield banners, and none of those, and not a tire manufacturer decal either, were enough to dissuade the officials from penalizing the wrong car TWICE. This rule blames to victims.

    The caution procedures are a very small step forward. They would be more encouraging if IMSA was actually interested in producing good racing and those long cautions were the unintended result of poorly conceived rules. The problem is IMSA wants long cautions, in the NASCAR tradition of sacrificing the rest of the race to set up an “exciting” dash the finish filled with contact and mayhem. If they were interested in green flag racing they simply wouldn’t have deployed the safety car for the spun Porsche at Daytona and the Whelen tube-frame Chevy that drove up the escape road at Sebring.

    If they were truly interested in maximizing green-flag running and keeping things fair and sorted in multi-class racing, they would adopt a Code 60 system. That allows the cars to circulate at a safety-car level of speed, while maintaining the track position and spacing they had while racing. No class leaders get separated by safety cars, no one can dash back to the pits before they close to gain an advantage. The cars slow to a safe speed to allow safety crews to deal with the incident but there are no strategy or position shakeups, just safe, fair racing.

    The biggest letdown with this release is that there is no promise to bring back the old ALMS professional traveling safety team. Two races now we have watched cars burn to the ground while the random joes IMSA picked up off the street to be their local safety team stand around and decide whether they can be bothered to put the fire out or not. This is seriously unsafe and someone is going to suffer the consequences of an untrained, unmotivated safety team unfamiliar with their cars, and that thought makes me sick to my stomach.

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