Friday, Dec 03

All Five WeatherTech Championship Classes Return to Action at Road America

Thursday, Jul 29 727
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
A favorite circuit for drivers and fans alike is next on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule when the series visits Road America for the IMSA SportsCar Weekend from Aug. 6-8.
 
At 4.048 miles, the track is the longest on the schedule. It offers plenty of room for all five WeatherTech Championship classes to compete, with long high-speed straights coupled with challenging sets of corners, kinks and uphill climbs.
 
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the IMSA SportsCar Weekend:
 
Fast Facts
Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Aug. 6-8, 2021
 
Entry List (Click Here)
Race Day/Time: Sunday, Aug. 8 – 2:40 p.m. ET
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: LIVE – Flag-to-flag beginning at 2:35 p.m. ET (available outside the U.S. on IMSA.com/TVLive)
NBCSN Coverage: 8 p.m. ET
IMSA.com/TVLive Live Qualifying Stream: Saturday, Aug. 7 – 2:45 p.m. ET
IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage begins Sunday, Aug. 8 at 2:30 p.m. (Sirius 216, XM 202, Internet 992)
Circuit Type: 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course
Race Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Track Social Media: Twitter: @roadamerica; Instagram: @roadamerica; Facebook: @roadamerica
Event Hashtags: #IMSA, #RoadAmerica
 
WeatherTech Championship Track Records
Qualifying:
DPi:       Dane Cameron, Acura DPi, 1:48.715 / 134.045 mph, August 2019
LMP2:  James French, ORECA LMP2 07, 1:52.037 / 130.070 mph, August 2019
LMP3:  new class in 2021
GTLM:  Laurens Vanthoor, Porsche 911 RSR-19, 2:00.590 / 120.845 mph, August 2020
GTD:     Ben Keating, Mercedes-AMG GT3, 2:05.250 / 116.349 mph, August 2019
 
2020 IMSA SportsCar Weekend Winners
DPi:       Helio Castroneves/Ricky Taylor, No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi
LMP2:  Henrik Hedman/Ben Hanley, No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA LMP2 07
LMP3:  new class in 2021
GTLM:  Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor, No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R
GTD:     Frankie Montecalvo/Townsend Bell, No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3
 
Storylines
·        All Together Now: All five WeatherTech Championship car classes will be competing at Road America, including the new-for-2021 Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class. A total of 37 cars are on the pre-event entry list. This will be the last time all five classes will race together until the season finale, the Motul Petit Le Mans, November 11-13.
·        Championship Battles Forming: Four of the five classes are hotly contested at the top of the point standings heading into the IMSA SportsCar Weekend. In Daytona Protype international (DPi), No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor are 81 points ahead of No. 55 Mazda Motorsports drivers Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis – the gap essentially the difference between a first- and fifth-place race finish under the new scoring format. In Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 pilots Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen are 35 points up on No. 11 WIN Autosport ORECA drivers Steven Thomas and Tristan Nunez. The LMP3 class finds Gar Robinson (No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320) 96 points in front of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett (No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier). And in GT Daytona (GTD), Ross Gunn and Roman De Angelis (No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3) are but 28 points better than Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley (No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3).
·        New Points Format for 2021: The WeatherTech Championship points structure has changed this season, with each race finishing position earning 10 times the points it received a year ago. Where a class winner took home 35 points in 2020, the reward is now 350 points. Second place in a race now earns 320 points, third place nets 300 and downward from there. In addition, points are now distributed in qualifying, with 35 going to the pole winners in DPi, LMP2, LMP3 and GTLM, as well as to the fastest car in the second GTD qualifying session (see below). Points descend from second downward through the qualifying results.
·        Revised GTD Qualifying Format: Starting this season, the GT Daytona class conducts two qualifying sessions. The first is for the Motul Pole Award and starting grid position, with a Silver- or Bronze-rated driver in each car. Following a mandatory driver change, another 15-minute session will take place to decide qualifying points for the class. All other classes in action will have a single 15-minute qualifying session that determines both grid position and points.
 
Who’s Hot?
·        Riley Motorsports LMP3: The No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier has won three straight races in LMP3, plus the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona which did not award season-long WeatherTech Championship points. Gar Robinson has been aboard for all four victories, with Felipe Fraga his co-driver for the three-win streak.
·        No. 3 Corvette: Not only are Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor the defending GT Le Mans (GTLM) champions at Road America, they’re riding a three-race winning streak this season in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
·        No. 23 Aston Martin: With four podium finishes in their last four races, drivers Ross Gunn and Roman De Angelis have pushed the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin to the top of the GTD standings in both the season points and for the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup. The Road America race counts toward both championships.
 
Who’s Good Here?
·        Corvette Racing and Chevrolet: The Corvette Racing team has reeled in eight Road America wins, all in the GT classes, including last year in GTLM. Toss in a few other GT wins from other teams and a trio of prototype victories, and the Chevrolet brand has more Road America wins (14) than any other manufacturer.
·        Auberlen, Cameron and Long: Three veteran drivers – Bill Auberlen, Dane Cameron and Patrick Long – have each won three times at Road America. Auberlen (No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW) and Long (No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R) will square off in the GTD class. Cameron, whose Road America victories came in consecutive years (2014-16), is aboard the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura DPi. Of the three, only Auberlen has won a race so far this season.
 
Previous IMSA SportsCar Weekend Winners in 2021 Field (20)
Bill Auberlen (3): GT2 – 2009; GT – 2012, 2013
Dane Cameron (3): GTD – 2014; P – 2015, 2016
Patrick Long (3): GT2 – 2005, 2006; GTD – 2018
Jon Bennett (2): LMPC – 2012; P – 2018
Ben Keating (2): GTD – 2015, 2016
Colin Braun (1): P – 2018
Matt Campbell (1): GTD – 2019
Pipo Derani (1): P – 2017
Antonio Garcia (1): GTLM – 2020
Cooper MacNeil (1): GTC – 2012
Tommy Milner (1): GTLM – 2016
Frankie Montecalvo (1): GTD – 2020
Tristan Nunez (1): GX – 2013
Spencer Pumpelly (1): GTC – 2013
Zacharie Robichon (1): GTD – 2019
Nick Tandy (1): GTLM – 2015
Jordan Taylor (1): GTLM – 2020
Ricky Taylor (1): DPi – 2020
Harry Tincknell (1): DPi – 2019
Renger van der Zande (1): PC – 2014
 
Previous IMSA SportsCar Weekend Pole Winners in 2021 Field (11)
Ricky Taylor (3): DP – 2011; P – 2017; DPi – 2020
Jonathan Bomarito (2): GT – 2013; P – 2016
Dane Cameron (2): DP – 2013; DPi – 2019
Colin Braun (1): LMPC – 2013
Guy Cosmo (1): GTC – 2009
Ryan Dalziel (1): P – 2014
Ben Keating (1): GTD – 2019
Patrick Long (1): GTD – 2018
Spencer Pumpelly (1): GTC – 2013
Aaron Telitz (1): GTD – 2020
Laurens Vanthoor (1): GTLM – 2020
 
Previous IMSA SportsCar Weekend Winning Teams in 2021 Field (13)
Corvette Racing (8): GTS – 2002, 2004; GT1 – 2005, 2006, 2007 2008; GTLM – 2016, 2020
Chip Ganassi Racing (5): DP – 2011, 2012; GTLM – 2017, 2018, 2019
CORE autosport (3): LMPC – 2012, GTLM – 2015, P - 2018
Action Express Racing (3): P – 2014, 2015, 2016
PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (3): LMPC – 2011; PC – 2016; LMP2 – 2019
BMW Team RLL (3): GT2 – 2009; GT – 2010, 2012
Turner Motorsport (3): GT – 2013, GTD – 2014, 2017
Archangel (2): SRP2 – 2001; LMP675 – 2002
Riley Motorsports (2): GTD – 2015, 2016
Mazda Motorsports (1): DPi – 2019
Performance Tech Motorsports (1): PC – 2017
Pfaff Motorsports (1): GTD – 2019
Vasser Sullivan (1): GTD – 2020
 
Previous IMSA SportsCar Weekend Winning Manufacturers in 2021 Field (8)
Chevrolet – 14
Porsche – 13
BMW – 9
Audi – 7
Acura – 4
Mazda – 3
Aston Martin – 1
Lexus – 1
Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

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