It’s time. Literally. This weekend the “Roar” is set for testing and practicing for the ROLEX 24 which goes green the following weekend. Next month, the Daytona 500 will start NASCAR with a new car design. With that, NASCAR is not heavily represented with the “Roar” and ROLEX this time around. On the surface, it would seem a good idea as some aspects of the “Next Gen” Cup Car are pulling from the IMSA racing style. As examples, consider the center hub wheels and the refueling system. NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion Austin Cindric may be a lonely representative racing a Mercedes in GTD Pro.
IndyCar, however, has a wider set of drivers ready to rolling out with the opening weekends for IMSA. Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR champion and current IndyCar driver, will drive with ALLY / Action Express. Defending IndyCar champion Alex Palou will be racing Ganassi Cadillacs with Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson. Meyers Shank Racing team mates Helio Castroneves and Simon Pageanud are running. Alexander Rossi is also in a seat for the ROLEX.
A big thing missing from IMSA for 2022 is NBCSports. NBCSN had been a staple on cable systems for quite some time. Now, in order to watch the bulk of IMSA racing, a pay gate subscription to NBC Peacock TV is required. Note that the late season NASCAR races will be on broadcast NBC or cable USA. The Peacock subscription is only $4.99/month and brings with it a lot of sport and entertainment, including expanded coverage of the upcoming Winter Olympics. It is, however, a bit of a kick to add yet another subscription to those most of us already have.
Some fans, based on social media discussions over the “ROAR” weekend, seem to be put out just as the season gets started. Beyond any perceived difficulties in watching the races, the “old ways” discussions are popping once again. What is it about race fans, surrounded by technology every day, that make them complain about change on every level? It has to be obvious that automotive technology has progressed to the point that there is no “going back” to racing like it was even 10 years ago. Computers, engineering and safety as a constant concern with competition have pushed all of motorsport to review everything that happens on race tracks.
This weekend, as the “Roar before” practices and runs some of the qualifying, IMSA has apparently stepped in with some changes. This has folks that are bigger fans of confrontation instead of competition throwing accusations and pointing fingers. It comes down to the “Balance Of Performance” to maintain a level field of competition. Fuel capacity changes along with some performance adjustments have some fans claiming this is an effort on IMSA to give advantages to certain manufacturers or teams.
Let’s be real, here… IF there was an effort to give an advantage to a team (or teams) by the sanctioning body (IMSA) that was so obvious that the average domestic beer consumer could see it then, certainly, the owners and drivers on site and being supplied with these rule changes would see it. The money and logistics involved in racing at this level would not allow BoP changes to make it unsustainable. No team is going to field a car if they can see from the onset there is no competitive chance on race day. Perhaps some race fans watch too much professional wrestling…
Corvette was given a slightly larger air restrictor… BMW has a bit more boost… Ferrari has a little more boost but also a weight increase… Fuel capacities were adjusted…
Obviously… The world is ending…
The ROLEX 24, despite these changes and the beer fueled criticisms, will run the last weekend of January. It is a an event full of variety, speed and color. Sixteen manufacturers, plus the prototype chassis suppliers, are represented with this endurance race to officially open the United States racing season. Check your Peacock status and let’s go racing!
IMSA online – IMSA, Info, Schedules, Results
Peacock TV – Online subscription
Daytona International Speedway – Raceday Info and Schedules