IMSA has announced that the joint top class for LMH and LMDh machinery will be named ‘GTP’, beginning in 2023.
The name is a callback to what has been called a ‘golden era’ of IMA prototype racing stretching from 1981 to 1993, when the GTP class featured innovative prototypes from a variety of manufacturers.
That class helped develop innovative and emerging technologies like antilock braking and traction control while placing an emphasis on limiting fuel consumption.
The new class, set to debut at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona, will place a renewed emphasis on fuel economy, sustainability and green initiatives like the single-spec hybrid system that all cars competing in the LMDh class must use.
“If you were a race fan in the 1980s and early ‘90s as I was, you probably have fond memories of those epic IMSA GTP race cars, drivers and teams,” said IMSA President John Doonan.
“We are on the precipice of an amazing new era of GTP competition, with a real opportunity to eclipse the previous success of GTP. There is so much for IMSA fans – and really endurance sports car racing fans around the world – to look forward to in the coming years, led by the introduction of the new GTP class here at Daytona in 2023.”
IMSA also unveiled the logo that will be displayed on all cars in the GTP class next season, which is a modernized take on the logo that adorned GTD cars during its previous iteration.
Five manufacturers already have confirmed participation in the GTP class beginning next season with new LMDh cars. Additional manufacturers with LMDh and LMH machinery are in the pipeline as well.
IMSA acquires Historic Sportscar Racing
Additionally, IMSA also announced that it has purchased the Historic Sportscar Racing organisation, bringing HSR’s events and iconic, vintage and historic sports cars from throughout more than 50 years of IMSA and beyond into the IMSA portfolio.
The HSR calendar features numerous events at a variety of IMSA/NASCAR properties, including Daytona International Speedway, Sebring International Raceway and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
HSR’s trio of major events events includes the “HSR Classics” at Daytona and Sebring and The HSR Mitty at Michelin Raceway, which celebrates its 44th running this year as one of the oldest vintage and historic races in the United States.
The 2022 HSR season opens with the annual Spring Fling at Sebring on April 6-8. A nine-event calendar includes visits to Sebring and Michelin Raceway, as well as events at Barber Motorsports Park, Road America and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“IMSA’s future is extremely bright, with many new and innovative platforms debuting over the next several years,” said IMSA President John Doonan.
“Bringing HSR into the IMSA family substantially strengthens the links to previous generations of sports car racing, from eras that predate IMSA all the way through to cars that have competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”
With the acquisition, HSR becomes the eighth racing series to be sanctioned by IMSA. It joins the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge and four single-make series: Ferrari Challenge North America, Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche Carrera Cup North America.
“When IMSA first approached me about their interest in being involved in the vintage and historic racing scene, I knew this could be the perfect opportunity for both HSR and IMSA,” said HSR President David Hinton, who will remain with the organization as part of the new HSR entity. “John Doonan’s enthusiasm and love for our sport is unquestionable, and I look forward to working with him and the entire IMSA team as we continue to grow the HSR brand and footprint.”