As IMSA – the body which sanctions the new USSC Tudor series – prepares to change its class specifications for the 2016 season, racing teams who had previously run a Porsche 911 GT America in the GTD class have a large decision ahead of them.
IMSA has decided that for 2016, the GTD class (GT Daytona) will adopt full-GT3 classification rules, meaning that as of the 2016 season, the Porsche 911 GT America will suddenly be ineligible to compete in the GTD class. Meanwhile, 2015 will be a transition year, in which GT3 spec cars won’t yet be eligible to run in the GTD class. Teams essentially have three options: switch to a Porsche GT3 car for 2015 and beyond, run in the World Endurance Championship in 2015 until they form a strategy to deal with IMSA’s changing regulations, or spend the 2015 Tudor season with their current 911 GT America and upgrade at the end of the season, when the cars are no longer eligible to compete in the GTD class.
If a team takes the first option – switching to a GT3 car for 2015 – they’ll also have to make alterations to run in the GTD class that year, and then undo those alterations when the GT3 specifications are adopted for 2016.
“2015 is a transition year, so the new GT3-spec GTD car isn’t coming until 2016, so we have to figure out what we’ll do for 2015 because it will only be for one year,” Alex Job of Alex Job Racing told RACER. “If we continue to run GTD, it makes sense to run it with the same product. WEC is definitely an attractive proposition, but it’s run elsewhere other than the one race here so it’s not the most interesting to me… For the moment, the Tudor Championship has the most appeal.”
As Porsche already offers a GT3-spec car, they have no provisions for converting the 911 GT America race car to GT3 specifications. There is some possibility that a given team may decide to convert their cars from 911 GT America to the Porsche Cup classification, and then sell the car to minimize the monetary loss from buying a new GT3 car, but that won’t be inexpensive, nor easy.