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The Roar Before gets some teeth

IMSA WeatherTech series teams will be leaving the sandbags at home when they travel to Daytona for the Jan. 5-7 Roar Before the 24 at Daytona. IMSA has raised the stakes for this year's "Roar" to help insure that teams don't massage their lap times in an attempt to get a leg-up on the Balance of Performance regulations prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The 2018 version of "Roar" will reward teams pit boxes and garages each team will use during the Rolex 24 based on fastest qualifying times set during Sunday’s third and final day of the Roar. Each of the three WeatherTech Championship classes – Prototype (P), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) – will have a 15-minute qualifying session on Sunday, Jan. 7.

The qualifying session is the newest addition to the Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona schedule that also will include a race for the first time in the event’s history. The IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda will make its Daytona International Speedway debut on Saturday, Jan. 6 with a one-hour, 45-minute race beginning at 1:25 p.m. ET.

The new format is undoubtedly aimed at raising attendance on the last day of the "Roar" as well as keeping teams around and on the track for those attending along with penalizing any team that attempts to pad the Balance of Performance regulations with soft times during the "Roar"

“The enhancements planned for the 2018 Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona will bring more excitement to an already intriguing weekend for race fans,” said IMSA Vice President, Competition, Simon Hodgson. “As we’ve seen over the past several years, every second counts in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, placing a premium on the location of a team’s pit box and garage. Likewise, the addition of the first IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda with its new, endurance-racing format will be popular with our fans.”

The quickest Prototype gets the first pit box on pit lane starting at pit-in and also will be assigned to the first garage in the Prototype section of the WeatherTech Championship garage. The fastest GTD car will receive the second pit box on pit lane and the first garage in the GTD section, with the fastest GTLM car receiving the third pit box and the first garage in the GTLM section. New for 2018 Prototypes and GTLM class cars will pit together under a full course yellow. To give class separation in the pits Prototype and GTLM teams will be assigned pit boxes that will be separated by a GTD Team.

Once the fastest cars in each class have been accounted for, the process will repeat with the second-fastest Prototype, GTD and GTLM cars receiving their pit assignments and continuing until all cars have been accounted for. Entrants fielding multiple cars in the same class will be assigned adjoining pit boxes based on the fastest qualifying car being placed toward pit-in, while entrants of multiple cars in different classes will be assigned at IMSA’s discretion.

Entrants of multiple cars in the same class will be assigned adjoining garages based on the same criteria. Consideration will be given to Teams entering cars in multiple classes. Of course, all decisions by IMSA are final.

Photo by Blake Blakely

011/21/17

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