IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns to action this weekend with its longest endurance race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and there’s a valid reason for series president John Doonan to feel bullish about IMSA’s future.
Up from the 49 cars that took part in last year’s Rolex 24, Doonan’s management team has seen 12 more entries—61 in total—sign up for the Rolex 24 on its 60th anniversary, and once the season keeps rolling after the January 27-30 gathering, nearly 40 cars are expected to settle in for the standard 2h40m rounds on the calendar.
The growth can be attributed to a number of factors as some of the WeatherTech Championship’s five classes have been met with considerable year-to-year improvements. Other classes have held station, which is also remarkable in the ever-volatile world of sports car racing where teams come and go or switch to other series on a regular basis.
For the first time since 2017 when its new Daytona Prototype international class made its debut at the Rolex 24, there’s a strong feeling of optimism for where IMSA’s headed in 2022 and beyond. A new class, GTD Pro, replaces the amazing (but fell on hard times) GT Le Mans category where all the big factory programs fought, and it’s had heavy uptake from all the familiar brands.