Battles for Season and Michelin Endurance Cup Points Are Already Shaping up

By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
Following a pair of thrilling races to open 2021 at the iconic venues of Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season is off to another rousing, ultra-competitive start.
The high level of tight competition is reflected in the points standings – both for the season-long championship in each class and in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup consisting of the four longer races on the schedule. The format for accumulating points toward the season championships has changed for 2021, with drivers and teams now earning 10 times the previous amount – with 350 points awarded to the winner in each class, 320 for second place, 300 for third and descending downward. In addition, points are now awarded for qualifying results, with the pole winner netting 35, second fastest 32 and so on.
Points for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup are awarded separately from season championship points. At established junctures of the endurance events, the race leader in each class earns five points, second place gets four points, third place receives three points and all other competitors in the class get two points. For Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, the stages when Michelin Endurance Cup points were bestowed came at the four- and eight-hour marks, as well as the race finish.
Here’s a summary of where the provisional team points stand for both the season championship and the Endurance Cup:
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Daytona Prototype international (DPi): The No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05, winner at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, holds a slim eight-point lead (688-680) over the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda RT24P DPi, which is the only DPi entry to finish on the podium in each of the first two races.
Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2): Since the Rolex 24 does not count toward the LMP2 season championship, only the Sebring Twelve Hours results are reflected, which puts the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 at the top, with a 32-point edge (382-350) over the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA. It was confirmed at Sebring that the No. 52 will race in the entire WeatherTech Championship season, which bodes well for a highly competitive battle in this class.
Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3): As in LMP2, season-long points weren’t awarded in LMP3 at the Rolex 24. Therefore, the No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier JS P320 built a 32-point edge (378-346) on the No. 91 Riley Motorsports Ligier based on the No. 54’s Sebring victory.
GT Le Mans (GTLM): Despite a late-race altercation that destined it to a fourth-place Sebring finish, the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R maintains a 41-point lead (697-656) over the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 that won on Saturday. The No. 3 Corvette won the Rolex 24 in January.
GT Daytona (GTD): The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R has a 41-point lead (649-608) over the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at the top of the class, despite neither car winning a race yet in 2021. The driver standings vary slightly, with the No. 16 trio of Patrick Long, Jan Heylen and Trent Hindman 23 points ahead of Maro Engel, who drove for the winning No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Rolex 24 and the ninth-place No. 75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes at Sebring.
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup
DPi: The No. 10 Acura leads here again, four points better (27-23) than the No. 55 Mazda, which nearly corralled maximum Endurance Cup points at Sebring by leading at the first two stages and then finishing second.
LMP2: The No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA is two points ahead (26-24) of the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA, winners of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA is just three points from the lead (26-23) after sweeping the maximum 15 points at Sebring by leading at every stage.
LMP3: The No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier holds a strong 10-point lead (31-21), built by the car dominating and leading at all four junctures of the Rolex 24. The No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier is in second place.
GTLM: The Nos. 3 and 4 Corvettes are tied for the lead with 25 points. The No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE is just two points back after leading at Sebring at the four- and eight-hour marks, and then finishing second.
GTD: The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R swept in maximum points at Sebring, leading at all stages including the race finish, to tally 15 points and take the class lead in Endurance Cup (23-21). It’s a small advantage, however, with the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche just two points back and the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 three points behind.
The WeatherTech Championship returns to action May 14-16 with the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. This race is not an endurance event and will feature the DPi, LMP3 and GTD classes.
Adam Sinclair