The big talking point for the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship season is the introduction of the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class. Much like 2014, where IMSA officials tried in vain to balance the performance of the now retired Daytona Prototypes and the fresh crop of LMP2 cars, the 2017 Prototype class will again be defined by its BoP.
This is only my second year attending “The 25” but it is quickly becoming one of my favorite weekends of the year. This is true endurance racing; nobody is willing to throw in the towel. I watched shock changes, axle swaps, full engine pulls, and the Ryno Racing crew putting an entire right rear corner back on the car to salvage a second place overall, and class winning, finish. Congrats to the Flying Lizard crew for their overall win.
This has absolutely become my favorite weekend of the year. The pedigree and preparation of the cars is hugely impressive. It’s also refreshing to see these cars being driven hard rather than sitting in a museum. Kudos to the owners and drivers who allow their often priceless treasures to be driven in anger. It’s not every day that you see a Ferrari 250 GTO with an armful of opposite lock exiting a corner. Fortunately, with names like Canepa, Jeanette, Said, and Auberlen behind the wheel, you know the cars are in good hands.
The old airport runways of Sebring are an entirely different animal than the high-banks of Daytona. Rather than smooth asphalt, the cars were asked to navigate an uneven patchwork of several different surface materials, some portions dating back decades. The track puts intense stress on the car as well as the engineers and drivers tasked with finding a setup that works over the bumps. As such, it is a great opportunity to examine the relative performance of all the cars in a totally new environment and after several Balance of Performance (BoP) adjustments from IMSA.
What a fantastic start to the 2016 season. The massive 54 car field featured several highly revised or brand new cars. The racing was frantic with intense battles and wheel to wheel action from start to finish. As this was our first opportunity to see the 2016 cars being driven to their full potential, we can finally examine the true pace of each and how they stack up to the competition.