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Old 28 Apr 2017, 21:52 (Ref:3729746)   #1
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WEC and IMSA Schedule Gripes.

Now I'm gonna complain/critique about WEC and IMSA season schedules and I'd like for others to join in.

For the WEC, Silverstone is my first gripe. To me, it makes no sense to have a race at a high downforce track ahead of Le Mans, where most of the focus will be until June. IMO, perfect solution is to ditch Monza for the WEC Prologue, and make it a race weekend. Then either hold the Prologue at Paul Ricard and have it be optional, or not have a WEC Prologue at all.

Of course, since the WEC is loathe to add another date (adding Monza would push the calendar to 10 race weekends), I'd say sacrifice an existing round, though the WEC is between a rock and a hard place there. I'd say axe COTA or Bahrain, but the Bahrain royal family pays millions of dollars (and hence millions of dollars to the ACO and the FIA), even if the race is poorly attended and the Bahrain Government has attracted criticism for its questionable human rights record (though the same can be said of China for that one). Meanwhile, COTA is the only Grade 1 track in current use in NA, and Toyota and Porsche want a NA round, as well as other teams and manufacturers.

But ideally, the WEC would start at Monza, then Spa, then LM, and have Silverstone be a July or August date and be one of the first rounds for the high downforce sprint races. Also, weather would doubtlessly be better in summer in the southern UK.

And if a NA track was to be on the schedule, I'd suggest the ACO/FIA/WEC Ivy League blue jackets give up their Grade 1 fetish and race at a place like Laguna Seca, Road Atlanta, Road America, or even Sebring. If need be, race at a revised Indy GP layout, or hope that COTA gets bought up and better management brought in.

Now for IMSA, it's a similar deal since the ALMS and GA combined schedules and had to axe some races, but I have suggestions there, too. One, get rid of the street courses. I know that Long Beach has tradition and Detroit is Detroit, but Long Beach did show this year that sportscars probably aren't that well suited to ultra-tight street courses, due to speed differences between classes and different skill levels of competitors. LB was a bit of a crash fest with two prototype teams damn near writing off cars and several accidents, many involving pro-am drivers. And I can see more of the same for Detroit.

Also, Detroit clashing with the LM test weekend means no GTLM teams, which GTLM (IMSA's take on GTE-Pro) is one of IMSA's most popular classes. Which means no Corvettes and Ford GTs in Detroit that weekend, ironically in GM's and Ford's backyard. But since IMSA piggy-backs on the Indy Car series weekend there, there's no reason nor even incentive to run on a different weekend, along with convincing the local government to help out with the race, or get someone to fund it.

Also, I think that IMSA can do with a race at Mid-Ohio, which has been abandoned as far as top flight sportscar racing since the ALMS/GA merger. With rumors of a Honda or Acura DPI program, and with Acura running the NSX (now built in Ohio at Honda's Marysville plant) in GTD, now is a good time to add Mid-Ohio back on the schedule's roster. I'd also throw Barber Motorsports Park back on there, and a Prototype race at VIR.
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Old 28 Apr 2017, 22:01 (Ref:3729749)   #2
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Also, for COTA, there seems to be an issue of too much going on for a race weekend to be a sell out for road racing. Events are scheduled in the area almost every weekend that compete with any race going on. Factor in that Austin isn't exactly a motorsports hotbed, and you get poor attendance on top of COTA's management issues.

IMO, COTA was set up to not exactly achieve success due to location. Too much going on, and weather doesn't help. Summer and fall is extremely hot, spring has rain and storms, and late fall and winter is inconvenient for not just a WEC flyaway race, but even a IMSA race. Granted, I do think that everyone involved did try and take advantage of Austin being a cultural and population center. But I think that they did bite off more than they can chew.
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Old 28 Apr 2017, 22:02 (Ref:3729750)   #3
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Nah, mix 'em up. Consecutive races should be at different type of circuits. Make it harder and more varied.

As for IMSA it's had street circuits through its history so keep 'em. Seen 962s and big Jags battling on streets. Don't have too many, just variety and difficultly.

Calendar clashes. Yep, try to avoid, but don't stress too much about it.

Obviously these points are saying some things are alright as they are. Now we can't have that can we? So my whinge is that we should mix it up on race distance.
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Old 28 Apr 2017, 23:26 (Ref:3729763)   #4
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Nah, mix 'em up. Consecutive races should be at different type of circuits. Make it harder and more varied.

As for IMSA it's had street circuits through its history so keep 'em. Seen 962s and big Jags battling on streets. Don't have too many, just variety and difficultly.

Calendar clashes. Yep, try to avoid, but don't stress too much about it.

Obviously these points are saying some things are alright as they are. Now we can't have that can we? So my whinge is that we should mix it up on race distance.


IMSA through the streets of Miami should really be a thing between Daytona and Sebring again.
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Old 28 Apr 2017, 23:40 (Ref:3729767)   #5
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Yes, there are things that both do well, namely racing at a lot of tracks that have history and pedigree. I don't think that anyone for instance would like to see Silverstone off the WEC sechedule, though it should probably be moved to a date with better weather. Also, the Silverstone 1000km traditionally was a July or August date.

Also, having Monza be early in the season fits in with everyone running their LM packages pre LM, with the following races being high downforce sprint events.

Biggest issue by far overall, is too many tracks and not enough dates. For budget reasons, the WEC and IMSA are loathe to add more races. And I don't think that either the ACO or IMSA want to foot the bill just to have an extra race or two a season. And I wouldn't want to see a drop a score deal like 2012, because that means that teams could cherry pick races, which isn't what I think anyone wants.
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Old 28 Apr 2017, 23:43 (Ref:3729769)   #6
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IMSA through the streets of Miami should really be a thing between Daytona and Sebring again.
ALMS/Champ Car did try a revival, but it only lasted a couple of years. ALMS and Indy Car did St. Petersburg after Sebring for a couple of years, too. It worked, and Indy Car still has it as their season opener, but ALMS/IMSA left and got replaced by PWC.

I wouldn't mind seeing IMSA return to St. Pete, but between being close after Sebring and IMSA's already stacked schedule, I don't see that happening soon.
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Old 28 Apr 2017, 23:48 (Ref:3729770)   #7
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The Silverstone race was often the last race before Le Mans. I hadn't particularly thought about this before, but I think the race before Le Mans should be as different as possible. Mix it up. Can we have a street race before? Or Brands?
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Old 29 Apr 2017, 03:25 (Ref:3729804)   #8
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At least IMSA has the problem of too many deserving tracks and not enough dates open. Granted, the schedule isn't perfect (no GTLM at Detroit because of LM test day clash for example, and I think that the Prototypes should be running at Lime Rock), but they're sort of in a better position than the WEC is.

The WEC is a "world championship", and some rounds are there in part due to pressure from the manufacturer teams. COTA is there because aside from Indy GP, COTA is the only active Grade 1 track in the US. And we know that in the past Audi, Porsche, Toyota, Ferrari, Ford and Aston Martin have pushed for a US round due to US sales. That also is why Shanghai is on the schedule, due to those makers wanting a presence in China.

Bahrain is there mostly because the ACO and FIA like to collect the bundles of bucks that the Royal Family is willing to pay to have a race there. From what I've heard Bahrain is a ghost town compared to COTA, but that doesn't stop the WEC from turning up every season.

Of course, that does open debate for which races should go and what should replace them. IMSA has the issues of so many deserving races due to so many US tracks having pedigree and history. Not to mention that one of the reasons they're doing COTA is a race in the SW US outside of California. They have two races in Florida that are there by virtue of being signature NA endurance events. So geography and location plays a role.

The WEC have races that unquestionably should be there, such as Silverstone, Nurburgring, Spa, and Fuji, let alone Le Mans. Mexico City also has history with sportscar racing. But COTA seems to be there because of the ACO/WEC's management's unwavering desire to run Grade 1 tracks outside of Le Mans. Personally, I think there's better places that the WEC can race at in NA if they'd be willing to bite the Grade 1 bullet and swallow their pride. COTA is an interesting track on layout for a Tilkedrome, but between not attracting fans to any of their races, bad management decisions, and the fact that any date outside of a September time-frame is inconvenient for the series, it makes sense why the race isn't that well attended.

With COTA, either there's not enough effort on the part of the track and WEC management to promote the event, or the local populace is indifferent to the goings on, or both.

Unfortunately, I'm not the one who makes the schedule, and the ACO are having to bend to manufacturer/team desires and promotional factors. Not to mention that as I hinted at in my first post, there is, like with IMSA, only a limited number of slots for races. Several teams almost crapped a brick when the ACO added Mexico City late in 2015. It screwed up Toyota's plans to run three cars at LM last year for one. There's not much enthusiasm for adding more races right now, and probably won't be for a while, if ever. Even then, at most, the WEC will be probably capped at 10 races max unless there's a major boom in the world economy.
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Old 1 May 2017, 00:16 (Ref:3730219)   #9
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I guess st. Pete would be a good filler race between the Florida enduros.

Long Beach is bad.

Detroit is useless without GTLM, and the P2 based teams that might want to go to Lemans so the P class might not be there in the future.

Barber, Mid-Ohio, and Portland please.
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Old 1 May 2017, 13:32 (Ref:3730336)   #10
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In group C days Silverstone was in April, followed by Spa. We also had Brands Hatch in September back then, but it was the good old days ;-) As for " the weather will be better in August or September you clearly do not know English weather, see Silverstone 1000km 2005.

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Old 1 May 2017, 13:38 (Ref:3730337)   #11
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Having similar tracks run back to back to back is boring.
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Old 1 May 2017, 15:23 (Ref:3730373)   #12
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I guess st. Pete would be a good filler race between the Florida enduros.

Long Beach is bad.

Detroit is useless without GTLM, and the P2 based teams that might want to go to Lemans so the P class might not be there in the future.

Barber, Mid-Ohio, and Portland please.
I just don't think St Pete is going to be possible anymore under the unified IMSA series. It worked just fine for ALMS when they had no Daytona.

Agreed with the point on Detroit its the one race of the year I skip watching because of a lack of GTLM. I betcha of all the race replays on youtube on the IMSA Official channel. The Detroit race gets the fewest views. (don't know for sure, just a hunch)

The tracks you mention are great but I think at this point the only way IMSA can justify adding more tracks is to get grids to be large enough that they can justify having more split class races. If the DPI field can get to be more than 15 full season entries in 2018, then we can add a track or two from this list to be a DPI only field or a GT only field.
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Old 1 May 2017, 16:08 (Ref:3730379)   #13
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Nah, mix 'em up. Consecutive races should be at different type of circuits. Make it harder and more varied.
As for IMSA it's had street circuits through its history so keep 'em. Seen 962s and big Jags battling on streets. Don't have too many, just variety and difficultly.
Calendar clashes. Yep, try to avoid, but don't stress too much about it.
Obviously these points are saying some things are alright as they are. Now we can't have that can we? So my whinge is that we should mix it up on race distance.
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The Silverstone race was often the last race before Le Mans. I hadn't particularly thought about this before, but I think the race before Le Mans should be as different as possible. Mix it up. Can we have a street race before? Or Brands?
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IMSA through the streets of Miami should really be a thing between Daytona and Sebring again.
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Having similar tracks run back to back to back is boring.


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