The second year of the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup for the GT Daytona (GTD) class will open with a new event as IMSA officials today announced that the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 18 has been added to the calendar for 2020, growing the sprint-race competition to eight rounds.
The expanded 2020 WeatherTech Sprint Cup season offers an opportunity for drivers, teams and manufacturers in the GTD class to compete in the important Southern California market alongside the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes. For the GTD class, the 100-minute race on the Long Beach street circuit only will count toward WeatherTech Sprint Cup points and not for the overall WeatherTech Championship.
Both 100-minute street races, the Long Beach round and the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park on May 30, will be WeatherTech Sprint Cup-only rounds for GTD in 2020. This year’s Detroit race also only awarded points toward the WeatherTech Sprint Cup.
This expansion now makes GTD cars eligible to compete for three different championships and a total of 12 events in 2020. The four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup season encompasses the four iconic endurance events – the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Motul Petit Le Mans.
The now eight-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup season – which is exclusive to the GTD class – features all races two-hours and 40-minutes in length or shorter in 2020. The overall WeatherTech Championship season includes 10 races for GTD – the four Michelin Endurance Cup races and six two-hour, 40-minute races.
“The GTD class is the largest of the four competing in our flagship series from both a team and driver perspective as well as in the number of manufacturers participating,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “Southern California is the epicenter of car culture in the United States – if not the world – making it a highly desirable market for the manufacturers.
“We believe that by including Long Beach on the WeatherTech Sprint Cup calendar for 2020, it offers a ‘best of all worlds’ scenario for the GTD class. It’s not a requirement for those competing for either the WeatherTech Championship or Michelin Endurance Cup, but competitors with GT3 race cars and a desire to participate at Long Beach now have the opportunity to do so.”
The 2020 event will mark the first appearance for GTD at Long Beach since 2017, when Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette co-drove to the class victory in the No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Next year’s WeatherTech Sprint Cup season will open and close on the west coast, with the season finale set once again for WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 13. Other WeatherTech Sprint Cup venues include Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 3, Detroit on May 30, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 5, Lime Rock Park on July 18, Road America on Aug. 2 and VIRginia International Raceway on Aug. 23.