IMSA introduces new regulations

The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series, has introduced new regulations regarding tyre usage and testing into the professional sports car racing series in a bid to help racing teams and tyre manufacturers control costs

IMSA introduces new regulations

The regulations took effect immediately after of the season-ending Audi Sports Car Championships event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on October 16.

"For the first time, a cooperative mechanism has been established in which we can work with teams and manufacturers to establish rules that are good for everyone and sensibly limit the costs of racing," said Tim Mayer, Chief Operating Officer of IMSA. "The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) is working hand in glove with us to help create this environment."

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) is the organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the event upon which the ALMS is based.

New regulations regarding tyres and their usage, cap the number of tyres any ALMS car can have on days leading up to the race, including the race day warm-up, to 20 dry tyres. The number of tyres that can be used in the actual race will remain open. In addition, "intermediate" tyres will be eliminated, and a single wet tyre per tyre manufacturer, per class, will be mandated. Teams may also use only one set of tyres in qualifying.

The establishment of a mechanism to regulate testing is also a first-time move by IMSA. The regulations apply to testing by race teams, chassis manufacturers and tyre manufacturers. Blackout periods have been mandated as part of the new regulations, applying to all four classes, and teams in all classes will be required to register test sessions with IMSA.

"We have established rules which block off much of the most expensive forms of testing, while encouraging cost effective testing," said Mayer. "This structure provides us an extremely flexible mechanism by which we can monitor and curtail excessive costs."

Specific caps have been placed on the amount of testing that can be done in the GT and LMP2 classes. "Most of the teams in these classes do not have excessive budget for testing," said Mayer. "This is an effort to level the playing field between the haves and the have-less. There is an appropriate amount of testing, but not so that any one team can test its way to victory."

The regulations do not apply to race teams testing in Europe for the purpose of competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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