The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule unveiled today in Road America’s new Victory Lane in front of an audience of stakeholders, media and race fans features venue stability – all 12 racetracks that have hosted WeatherTech Championship events since the 2015 season are on next year’s schedule.
However, the schedule does include a few notable alterations and date shifts for two events. The event at Circuit of The Americas – which has been run in September since the WeatherTech Championship’s inception in 2014 and also hosted an American Le Mans Series event in September 2013 – will move into the spring in 2017. In addition, the event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – which has traditionally been run in late April or early May – moves to September in 2017 as the penultimate round of the WeatherTech Championship.
“The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship once again features 12 of the most iconic road-racing facilities in North America,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “These venues have outstanding support from race fans, and deliver exposure in important and strategic markets for our competitors and stakeholders. Aside from a couple of date changes and adjustments to the WeatherTech Championship content at some events, there are no major surprises. This schedule represents the stability of our racing platform and a continuation of IMSA featuring the best-of-the-best racetracks and event promoters.”
The WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class will compete in all 12 events, while the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class is slated for 11 races. The Prototype (P) class will be featured in 10 events, and the Prototype Challenge (PC) class will have an eight-race schedule in 2017.
The 2017 WeatherTech Championship season opens with the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona on the weekend of January 26-29 at Daytona International Speedway, followed by the 65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida at Sebring International Raceway on March 15-18. All four WeatherTech Championship classes will compete in the pair of Florida endurance racing classics, which also represent the first two rounds of the four-race North American Endurance Cup.
The WeatherTech Championship then heads west to the streets of Long Beach, California, for the BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach on April 7-8. The prestigious Southern California street race will include the Prototype and GTLM classes racing alongside the GTD class for the first time in 2017.
Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas will represent Round 4 of the season with all four classes competing in a race into the night on the weekend of May 5-7. The WeatherTech Championship will be joined by three other IMSA-sanctioned series. From there, the WeatherTech Championship goes to the streets of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on June 2-3 for a sprint race including the Prototype, PC and GTD classes.
The third Patrón Endurance Cup event of the season returns to Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on the weekend of June 30-July 2, followed by the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada on July 7-9. Both races again will feature all four classes.
Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut will host the first of two 2017 races exclusively featuring the WeatherTech Championship GT classes. GTLM and GTD machines will take center stage in the Northeast Grand Prix on July 21-22.
All four classes return to competition at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on the weekend of August 4-6 for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. As has been the case since 2015, the WeatherTech Championship GT classes will once again headline the Michelin GT Challenge weekend at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia on the weekend of August 25-27.
The Prototype, GTLM and GTD classes then return to the west coast on the weekend of September 22-24 for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda in Monterey, California at the world-famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. After a two-week break, the WeatherTech Championship and Patrón Endurance Cup seasons draw to a close at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans on the weekend of October 5-7.
In addition to the full 2017 WeatherTech Championship schedule, IMSA officials also confirmed dates for four sanctioned test sessions, including two set for later this year. A two-day test for all four WeatherTech Championship classes has been scheduled for November 15-16, 2016 at Daytona International Speedway, followed by a second Daytona test for the Prototype, GTLM and GTD classes on December 13-14, 2016.
The annual Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona three-day test is slated for January 6-8, 2017. A two-day test at Sebring International Raceway for the WeatherTech Championship also is scheduled for February 23-24, 2017.
2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Date Event (Duration) / Venue Classes / Duration Jan. 26-29 Rolex 24 At Daytona P/PC/GTLM/GTD Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, Florida 24 Hours
March 15-18 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida P/PC/GTLM/GTD Sebring International Raceway – Sebring, Florida 12 Hours
April 7-8 BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach P/GTLM/GTD Long Beach, California 100 Minutes
May 5-7 Circuit of The Americas P/PC/GTLM/GTD Austin, Texas 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
June 2-3 Chevrolet Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix P/PC/GTD Belle Isle Park – Detroit, Michigan 100 Minutes
June 30-July 2 Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen P/PC/GTLM/GTD Watkins Glen International – Watkins Glen, New York 6 Hours
July 7-9 Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix P/PC/GTLM/GTD Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
July 21-22 IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix GTLM/GTD Lime Rock Park – Lakeville, Connecticut 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Aug. 4-6 Continental Tire Road Race Showcase P/PC/GTLM/GTD Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Aug. 25-27 Michelin GT Challenge GTLM/GTD VIRginia International Raceway – Danville, Virginia 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Sept. 22-24 Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda P/GTLM/GTD Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, California 2 Hours, 40 Minutes
Oct. 5-7 Petit Le Mans P/PC/GTLM/GTD Road Atlanta – Braselton, Georgia 10 Hours
IMSA WeatherTech Championship Sanctioned Test Sessions Date Venue Classes
Nov. 15-16, 2016 Daytona International Speedway P/PC/GTLM/GTD Daytona Beach, Florida
Dec. 13-14, 2016 Daytona International Speedway P/GTLM/GTD Daytona Beach, Florida
Jan. 6-8, 2017 Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona P/PC/GTLM/GTD Daytona Beach, Florida
Feb. 23-24, 2017 Sebring International Raceway P/PC/GTLM/GTD Sebring, Florida