The IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series made its debut today at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. under sunny Southern skies. The series, considered a stepping stone to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, held two official practice sessions on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course often dubbed the Augusta National of motorsport.
The new closed-cockpit LM P3 cars – representing the principal class in the Prototype Challenge series – set the pace today with their 450-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 engines.
Taking the top spot with a fastest lap of 1 minute, 20.651 seconds was 2015 series champion Kenton Koch in the No. 8 Ligier JS P3 fielded by P1 Motorsports.
Four different manufacturers have a total of 11 cars in the LM P3 class this weekend, all running Continental tires similar to those in WeatherTech Championship prototype competition.
The proven Mazda-powered Élan DP02 cars in the Mazda Prototype Challenge (MPC) class continued to show their quickness, setting a fastest lap time that was fifth overall in today’s practice sessions. The MPC fast lap of 1:22.557 was put down by Kyle Masson in the Performance Tech Motorsports/Neurospine Institute No. 18 ahead of 12 other cars in the MPC class.
Both Koch and Masson will have to be flawless to retain their status in qualifying, as challengers in both classes were extremely competitive in practice.
All IMSA Prototype Challenge drivers will get their shot at the pole position in a 20-minute session from 9:20 to 9:40 a.m. tomorrow. The results of qualifying will determine the starting positions for the first of the two 45-minute races, which will take the green flag at 3:45 p.m. CDT tomorrow. Race two will take place Saturday at 12:00 p.m. and will stream live from 11:50 to 12:45 p.m. CDT on IMSA.TV.
Delayed television coverage of the IMSA Prototype Challenge Races at Barber Motorsports Park will be provided on May 4, 2017 on Fox Sports 2 (FS2). The broadcast will also be available on YouTube 24 hours after it airs on television.
For more information on all IMSA competition - or to access IMSA Radio, which will have live streaming of both races - visit IMSA.com.
For more information about the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #IMSAPC @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.
Qualifying: 9:20 - 9:40 a.m. Friday, April 21
Round 1 (45 minutes): 3:45 - 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 21
Round 2 (45 minutes): 12:00 -12:45 p.m. Saturday, April 22