Prototype Challenge competitors will be in for a unique two-segment race in next month’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship round at Kansas Speedway.
IMSA confirmed Friday the format of the combined PC and Cooper Tires Prototype Lites event, which will see a pair of aggregate 45-minute sprint races on the 2.37-mile oval/road course.
Per the event’s Supplemental Regulations, a Bronze or Silver-rated driver must qualify and drive the entire first race segment.
While no points are awarded at the end of the first segment, the finishing order determines the starting grid for the points-paying second segment, which is open to any rated driver.
According to IMSA’s VP of Competition and Technical Regulations, Scot Elkins, the number of laps completed in the first segment carries over to the second segment, but with margins being neutralized for cars finishing on the same lap.
The unique scoring format is similar to what’s been used in the Gulf 12 Hours, which is split into two six-hour segments.
“What [IMSA Race Director] Paul Walter and I did was basically solicit all of the PC teams as for what they wanted to see,” Elkins said. “Knowing that we had to run it with the Prototype Lites with two split segments, the conversation was, ‘How are we going to do the two segments and how we’re going to work it out?’
“Normally, the typical TUDOR Championship race, we’ve got a minimum drive time that a Silver or Bronze driver has to do. So in order to make it essentially the same way, we got feedback and made that guy qualify the car and make that guy run the first race.
“For the second segment, if the Silver or Bronze driver wants to keep running it and finish the second segment and run by themselves, they have that opportunity to. It’s kind of a mix of feedback from everybody that got us to where we need to be.”
As Elkins alluded to, teams have the ability to run the entire weekend with only one driver, provided he/she is Bronze or Silver-rated, per the qualifying and first segment race requirements.
Additionally, IMSA has increased the fuel capacity of the PC cars from 80 to 85 liters for this event, in order to ensure that cars won’t have to make a pit stop during each race.
Elkins said no decision has been made if this format will also be used for the PC/Lites round at Virginia International Raceway in August, as they’ll look to gain feedback from teams following the Kansas event.
A handful of PC and Lites teams are expected to conduct private tests at Kansas over the next week, which will mark the first on-track opportunity for both the Oreca FLM09 and Elan DP02 cars on the high-speed oval.
Eleven PC cars are currently entered for the Grand Prix of Kansas, with the race segments running from 4:15-5 p.m. and 10:15-11 p.m. on Sat., June 7.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will run in between the PC/Lites sprints, from 6:15-8:45 p.m. (all times CT).Kansas, Sports Cars, TUSC