A new era in sportscar racing is about to begin as the IMSA GTP cars began their first on-track test this month at Daytona. This is just one development in this week’s Motorsport Series & Track Day News.
In addition to GTP testing, I cover new rules for the WEC and ACO, new Formula Regional series in Oceania and the Middle East as well as new cars by Mercedes, McLaren, BMW, and Honda.
All this and more in this week’s Motorsport Series & Track Day News.
AutoWeek looks at highlights from the December IMSA Mandatory GTP Test at Daytona. “It wasn’t the Roar Before the Rolex 24, but it was the next best thing as race teams representing Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche participated in a mandatory two-day IMSA test this week at Daytona International Speedway. The event marked the last time all the cars will be in one place before the Roar Before the 24 testing, Jan. 20-22. Here’s some of the highlights from the December test days.”
Porsche’s return to prototype racing comes in the form of the new Porsche 963 GTP, the hybrid racer following the LMDh rules that you’ll see running with IMSA and WEC. The 963 will make its racing debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and will also compete in the Le Mans 24 and the 12 hours of Sebring in 2023. To learn more about the car, Grassroots Motorsports sat down with Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. You can watch the video above.
The FIA World Motorsport Council has confirmed the Sporting and Technical Regulations for the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship and there are a number of interesting changes and news of note. As noted last week, LMP2 will no longer be featured in the WEC as of 2024 but the ACO has now confirmed the next steps for LMP2. “From 2024, the ACO has confirmed that at least 15 slots will remain open to LMP2 cars on the 24 Hours of Le Mans grid. These places will be allocated to teams competing in ACO-badged series. This seems to conclude the recent history of an invitation for an LMP2 competitor from IMSA though the future shape of the two current automatic invitations awarded to IMSA remains unannounced.”
The FIA World Motorsport Council, has also confirmed the new class encompassing GT3-homologated cars due to join the FIA WEC in 2024 will be named LMGT3. The class is currently planned to include only Pro-Am driver line-ups and replaces the current LM GTE-Am class which starts its final season, and the final season for GTE machinery, in 2023
Finally, it was announced that Qatar will be getting a WEC calendar slot for 2024, Sebring is still in the plan for 2024 despite Qatar opening the season and that Glickenhaus has committed to a 2023 WEC Hypercar program.
The DTM will now sit at the top of the revamped ADAC umbrella, with GT Masters and Prototype Cup Germany occupying the space directly below it under the DTM Endurance banner. The DTM will keep its existing single-driver, sprint race format in 2023, allowing for some differential with what is currently known as GT Masters, as well as other championships using the GT3 rule-set.
Some teams are concerned with how GT Masters has been relegated to a support series and are wondering if GT Masters is doomed after ADAC’s DTM takeover. “For me, it’s completely doomed. I don’t see five GT3 cars there,” said Rutronik Racing’s Fabian Plentz.
The Australian Production Cars series have released their 2023 calendar. “The 2023 schedule consists of sprint and endurance rounds held across SpeedSeries and Motorsport Australia Trophy Series events, as well as the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International. It is expected to be a landmark year for the category, following the purchase of an equity stake in Production Car Racing Pty Ltd by the Australian Racing Group (ARG), with GT4 vehicles to feature on the APC grid next year.”
The GT Celebration Sports Car Series is expanding in 2023. Cup Celebration will have four classes based on the generation of GT3 Cup car – Platinum (992), Gold (991.2), Silver (991.1) and Bronze (997.2). Prototype Celebration has two classes: Prototype for LMP3 cars and the ORECA FLM09 that ran in IMSA’s LMPC category; and Prototype Lite for Revolution, Radical, Wolf and similar cars. GT Celebration will continue with three classes – Yellow for first-generation GT3 cars, Red for second-generation, and Blue for GT4.
Next year marks the 34th season for the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland with an attractive race calendar featuring eight events in four countries. A total of 16 rounds with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup are on the schedule. For the first time since 2017, most of the Porsche Carrera Cup races will be contested as part of the DTM platform. In addition to six race weekends run as part of the German GT3 series support programme, the calendar includes a doubleheader event at the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC on the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The 2023 season kicks off there from 27 to 29 April. NITRO will again air all races live on German free-TV.
Registration is now open for the 2023 Praga Cup UK. Praga drivers and teams can expect more races and more cars on the grid, as the Praga Cup will run as a standalone class in the all-new Britcar Prototype Cup, where Praga R1s will compete alongside a variety of manufacturers invited by Britcar. Britcar has provisionally confirmed a new weekend program of two 25-minute sprint races and one 50-minute endurance race that will offer a mix of fast, furious and exciting races retaining the Pro-Am structure of 2022. The Praga Cup package includes race day livestream, full dedicated PR by Praga, Data Engineer Team analysing the loggers and full hospitality for three guests per race day (breakfast and two course lunch).
The Spec MX-5 Challenge have announced their provisional 2023 race calendar. The schedule reflects the Series’ ever-growing effort to provide a space for racer development and experienced competitors alike. The regular season will begin March 25, 2023 and run through September, culminating with a National Championship event later in the year (date & location to be announced).
In related news, MotorTrend has reported that a fifth generation Mazda MX-5 Miata is reportedly coming in 2026. “Considering the timing it seems likely that the next Mazda MX-5 roaster will be a hybrid rather than a BEV. The question is how Mazda will adapt hybrid tech to a small sports car?“
Following a successful inaugural event in 2022, Lime Rock Park is pleased to announce that GRIDLIFE will return to the Park in 2023 for the two-day motorsports festival GRIDLIFE Circuit Legends Aug. 18-20. Lime Rock Park inked a three-year deal with the grassroots motorsports event and lifestyle brand, bringing GRIDLIFE back to the Connecticut circuit through 2026.
Grassroots Motorsports explains how today’s endurance racing series offer lots of laps and lots of racing. “At least four sanctioning bodies have sprung up since the 24 Hours of Lemons, a series that welcomes $500 cars, rekindled interest in the format. The SCCA and NASA have independently come up with budget enduro series, along with a very permissive licensing procedure to make it easier to get into the sport. We’ll look at all those series as well, but first let’s hear from the ultra-irreverent Jay Lamm, the creator of Lemons, which helped get us here in the first place.”
Mercedes-AMG have unveiled their GT2 Race Car which they call their most powerful yet with 707 Horsepower. “The AMG GT2’s highlight is undoubtedly its powertrain, a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with a flat crankshaft. This tells us the engine is related to the one installed in the road-going Black Series. In race car specification, it has been tuned to deliver a healthy 707 horsepower (520 kilowatts). That’s slightly down than the street-legal supercar with its immense 730 hp (537 kW), although dyno tests have shown it actually develops over 770 hp.”
Autosport looks at what’s to come from the new GT4 race cars of McLaren and BMW. “While most of the focus in endurance racing has been on the new LMDh offerings, that’s certainly not to say there’s no new developments in the world of GT4 competition, with the McLaren Artura and new BMW M4 set to race across the globe in 2023.”
The Toyota Racing Series has been officially rebranded as Formula Regional Oceania. The Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship – certified by FIA will become the most important single-seater championship in New Zealand, Australia and beyond and will reward its champion with a signifcantly increased haul of 18 Super Licence points, up from 10. Super Licence points will be awarded all the way down to the ninth place overall finisher. The Oceania region covers a significant geographical area which includes Australia and New Zealand as well as the Pacific Islands.
Confirming the recent rumors, the Formula Regional Middle East Championship certified by FIA has been officially announced. As well as stops at the UAE’s Dubai Autodrome and flagship F1 Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, the series will hold two consecutive rounds at the Kuwait Motor Town, the Persian Gulf state’s first permanent racing facility.
The 2023 S5000 calendar will span seven rounds, at a mixture of SpeedSeries and Supercars events. All seven rounds will count towards the Australian Drivers’ Championship (Gold Star). However, in a departure from the first two editions, the S5000 Tasman Series will simply be awarded on the basis of the final two rounds which also make up the Australian Drivers’ Championship.
GB4 has attracted privateer racer Dylan Hotchin to the grid for 2023, marking the first time the series will have a full-time privately-run entry. “I’m really excited to be moving up to GB4, for my first season in single-seaters,” said Hotchin. “To do this as a private entry will bring challenges, but GB4 is the only [series] that will allow me to break into single-seaters in the way we want to do it.
The all-electric ERA Championship is starting to get their inaugural grid together. “Although a calendar for the five-round 2023 season is yet to be announced, as the eTouring Car World Cup which ERA supports has not revealed its schedule, there are four drivers signed up for the Europe-based season and two are the scholars.”
Honda Performance Development (HPD) and JAS Motorsports announce the introduction of the new FL5 Civic Type R TCR for motorsports competition in 2023. Key features include a brand-new exterior design and aerodynamic package to improve downforce, a new chassis for enhanced cornering stability and greater driver safety, upgraded braking and transmission systems plus a race-prepared version of the four-cylinder, two-liter turbocharged engine featured in the Type R production vehicle.
The TCR South America and TCR Brazil championship will run on Kumho tires from the next season. An official partner of WSC Group, the Korea-based manufacturer has begun supplying control tyres in 2022 to TCR Europe, TCR Denmark, TCR Eastern Europe and TCR Spain.
Stock, Sprint & Off-Road
The STARS National Tour for pavement super late models will be sanctioned by ASA under a licensing agreement with ARCA. The ASA STARS National Tour will debut in 2023, billed as a 10-race series visiting the premier paved short tracks in the United States. A national champion will be crowned in November of 2023 at the All-American 400 at the Nashville Fairgrounds (Tenn.) Speedway.
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series is set to increase its benefits for full-time teams in 2023 with an increased points fund and available year-end bonus program, and further enhanced with limited flexibility to participate in non-World of Outlaws events without compromising full time benefits.
Big money will be on the line for Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competitors during the 2023 season, but it’s not going to come without a twist. Last Thursday, series officials announced a record $1 million point fund and a new chase-style championship format for the upcoming season. The new championship format will be an elimination style format that includes four rounds of eliminations prior to the championship round. After four rounds of elimination, four drivers will enter the season-ending Dirt Track World Championship at Eldora Speedway with an equal shot at winning the championship.
The Affordable Cross Car project designed to spearhead the FIA’s mission to double motor sport participation worldwide was revealed in Bologna, Italy, as part of the ASN Forum of this year’s FIA Annual General Assembly. This project will be conducted by a newly created, independent entity, called The Global Motorsport Development Company (GMDC). The purpose of this entity is to provide services to ASNs and enable them to develop motor sport activities and disciplines within specific projects.
The new Cross Car vehicle aims to significantly reduce the cost of entry by providing a full suite of standardised technical drawings for use by ASNs to build low-cost, easily maintained cars for entry level and grassroots competition. The ability to build cars in local markets will eradicate the excessive cost of importing cars from overseas.
General Series News
Autosport surveyed UK club racing scene in 2022 to get the pulse of the scene and reports on the positives as well as the negatives. “Off the back of a very successful 2021 season, rising inflation was always likely to put a dampener on club racing grid sizes this year. But there were still plenty of categories that continued to grow, even when others suffered declines.”
The 80th Members’ Meeting at Goodwood Road and Race has released their list of race series that will be racing. Full details can be found here.
Track Day News
The 2023 Ford GT Mk IV goes all-in to deliver the Ford GT’s highest-levels of performance, handling and advanced technology thanks to its unique engine, transmission, aerodynamic design and a chassis with longer wheelbase. The original GT Mk IV held nothing back for max track performance, and the new Ford GT Mk IV brings it in the same way. With an even higher-level of motorsport engineering and performance, plus a completely new carbon fiber body that is functional and striking, the Mk IV is the ultimate sendoff of the third-generation supercar.