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How IMSA's GTP revival proved worthy of its name

North America’s premier sports-prototype series harked back to its past in 2023 by calling on the GTP badge of honour for its new breed of hybrid-powered beasts. A close season in which all four manufacturers won races showed it was not a gimmick

It’s easy to be wistful about defunct racing series of yore, be it CART-era Indycar, Formula 5000 or the sportscar leviathans of Can-Am, but bringing back a reimagined version of a well-loved category carries a risk of its own. What if you build it and nobody comes? What if it’s sacrilegious to the memory of what went before? What if it mirrors the past and drifts into oblivion again?

Back in the day, IMSA’s GTP class pre-dated FISA’s Group C rules and spawned some of the most fantastic and best remembered sportscars of the past 50 years. It ran between 1981 and 1993 and featured epic machinery including Porsche’s ubiquitous 962, Nissan’s fearsome ZX-Turbo and NPT90/91, Jaguar’s legendary XJR range, Ford’s undercooked Probe (and an earlier front-engined Mustang!), Toyota’s striking Eagles, BMW’s sensational but crash-happy March 86G, and the distinctive lines of the Lola-built, Hendrick-run Corvette.

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