IMSA: What lies ahead in the 2019 season?

MONTEREY, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: The field races into the first turn at the start of the American Tire 250 IMSA WeatherTech Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 9, 2018 in Monterey, California. (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images)
MONTEREY, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: The field races into the first turn at the start of the American Tire 250 IMSA WeatherTech Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 9, 2018 in Monterey, California. (Photo by Brian Cleary/Getty Images) /

With the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the past, it is time to look forward into the bulk of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

With the wild and rain-shortened Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rearview mirror, the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season can get into the swing of things. With the second race of the 12-race season and the second round of the North American Endurance Cup, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, right around the corner, let’s take a look at what lies ahead in 2019.


This is arguably the strongest prototype field that IMSA has seen since the merger. There is an incredible amount of talent throughout the field, and the cars are arguably the most even they have ever been.

Looking back at the season opener, all the cars in the class showed speed, with Mazda being the most surprising in my mind. But as usual, both of the Mazdas had mechanical issues. Acura have been strong ever since coming to the series, so expect them to fully take the fight to Cadillac this year. I still see Cadillac as the favorites, but that’s a given due to the fact that they have won the manufacturer championship in each of the last two seasons.

The driver lineup in DPi this season is one of the best that I have ever seen. There are multiple teams that have two top-tier drivers who can win on any given weekend. The level of competition in this class this year is going to be incredible.

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Personally, if I had to predict who will win the class championship this year, I would pick the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac driven by Eric Curran, Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr.

Even though Wayne Taylor Racing took the win at Daytona, it’s tough made predictions based on that race, especially with how this year’s edition played out. Whelen Racing Engineering have arguably the strongest driver lineup in the class, but it goes without saying that there are plenty of other cars that have great chances to win the championship this year. The DPi class is going to be a lot of fun this season.


This year, IMSA decided to split up the prototype field and have LMP2 be its own class. The LMP2 class consists of closed-cockpit prototypes that fulfill the FIA World Endurance Championship regulations, which means that they can compete in World Endurance Championship races, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

There were only four cars running in the class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and there are just two entries in the class for the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Hopefully this class will feature more entries as the season progresses.

It was a smart move by IMSA to split the DPi and LMP2 cars into two separate classes, as the balance of power between the DPi and LMP2 cars was never even when they were in the same class. The DPi cars won a large majority of the races that took place when this was the case.

Hopefully IMSA can find a way to get more participants in this class, or else we may be looking at another failed prototype class.


The GTLM class has always been my favorite class in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. I love the variety of cars, the factory-backed teams and the world-class drivers that fill the field every week. The competition is always fierce and the class always seems to produce some of the best on-track battles.

Even though Corvette Racing have won the team championships in each of the last three seasons, it is always a very close championship battle within the GTLM class.

It’s only a matter of time before Ford breaks through with their GT. In fact, it is surprising that they have not yet won a championship with how much success they have had since they entered GTLM with their GT. You also can’t look passed Porsche and BMW this season either, as they will both have two fast cars and provide some tough competition in an attempt to dethrone Corvette.

All of these cars showed good speed at Daytona, with BMW taking the win. But like I said before, it’s hard to make any predictions for the season based on this year’s season opener. If I had to make a prediction for this year, I would predict that Corvette will not win their fourth consecutive team championship. I believe that Ford have the strongest driver lineup this year and will finally put a championship-winning season together.

This year’s GTLM class is going to be really fun to watch. It is the last year of the Corvette C7.R, so we will see a brand new Corvette next season, and with how often BMW like to change their car, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a new car next year as well. But one thing I expect for certain is that the racing is going to great and there are going to be some awesome battles in the GTLM class this year.


GTD is the biggest class of the four classes in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this season. 17 of the 38 entries for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring are in this class, where it always seems like the battle for the championship comes down to the final minutes of the final race of the season. Hopefully that happens again this year.

There is so much talent, young and old, in the GTD field. Some veteran teams have switched manufacturers too, such as Magnus Racing switching to Lamborghini for this season. The talent gap between teams this year is so small, so I expect to see some amazing racing within the class.

I expect good seasons from teams such as Paul Miller Racing, Meyer Shank Racing, Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports, Scuderia Corsa, Turner Motorsport and more, as I could keep going. The point is that this class could feature the closest championship of all the classes, and it is practically impossible to make a prediction this early in the season for it.

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One of the biggest headlines for the 2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season comes from the GTD class. The#57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo featured an all-female driver lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro, Katherine Legge and former GTD champion Christina Nielsen driving the car.

The team are set to continue with their all-female driver lineup for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which is the same as they had at Daytona minus de Silvestro. This is a great story for the sport and I cannot wait to see how they do this season. They definitely have a quality driver lineup, so don’t be surprised if you see a few podium finishes from them, maybe even a few wins.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 16, so be sure not to miss it.