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.
After a brief scare this past week — imsatiming.com was temporarily inaccessible — I decided to archive and share the timing data. I know that I, and many others, appreciate the insight that can be found in the data.
I had to pick my shooting spots carefully. Unlike a 4-hour ALMS race, where I could wander, watch, and shoot from all points on the track, the compressed schedule of the reunion forced me to pick a spot for each race. Each race group is only on track for two 20-minute sessions — one on the morning and one in the afternoon. Since I was forced to choose, I chose the exit of turn 11 and The Corkscrew. Turn 11 to capture the sounds of the cars rocketing down the straight at full throttle and The Corkscrew because it is as iconic as it gets. I’m especially happy with the turn 11 footage. The cars sound great getting on the power and you can really see them moving around. They were not babied at all.
I put together two videos from the footage I got at the race. First, a “Sights and Sounds” video featuring work in the pits as well as on-track action from both the WeatherTech and Continental Tire SportsCar Championships. Second, I wanted to do a sound comparison of the new-for-2016 GTLM cars. Two raucous V8s were replaced by turbos; I thought it would be interesting to compare.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca rewards smooth and committed driving. Without the top speeds of Daytona or the stop-and-go cornering of Long Beach, cars and drivers need to keep their momentum up and maintain a high minimum speed through the corners. On paper, this should play right into the hands of the LMP2-based machinery.