IMSA field readies for title push in Monterey

IMSA field readies for title push in Monterey

Rested and recharged after a month-long break, IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship moves into WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this week to start the final push among title contenders in four of its five premium classes.

With the LMP3 class skipping the trek to the West Coast, 26 cars will contest Sunday’s 2h40m Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship round, with six entries set for DPi, four in LMP2, three for the outgoing GT Le Mans category, and 13 in GT Daytona. Featured among the teams are three home state programs, with the CarBahn with Peregrine Racing GTD effort based 90 minutes north in the Bay Area, central California’s PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports in LMP2, and southern California’s Compass Racing in GTD as well.

In DPi, a tight championship battle between Wayne Taylor Racing and its Acura ARX-05 (2380 points), Action Express Racing and its Cadillac DPi-V.R (2339) and Mazda Motorsports with its RT24-P (2337) will lead the proceedings as the slightest mistake or advantage could shuffle the top three by the end of the event. Once they’re done in Monterey, Long Beach (Sept. 25) and Petit Le Mans (Nov. 13) are all that’s left to settle the title chase that began in January.

LMP2 isn’t as close as DPi, as PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports has a solid grip on the class lead (1422 points), but WIN Autosport is chasing hard and trying to draw down the gap (1364), with Monterey and Petit Le Mans serving as the last two rounds on the LMP2 calendar.

In GTLM, there’s plenty of racing left with four events – Monterey, Long Beach, the GT-only visit to VIR, and Petit Le Mans – to run. Anything can happen in California, Virginia, and Georgia, and considerable misfortune would be required to unseat Corvette Racing and its No. 3 C8.R driven by Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor from a formidable championship lead (2207 points) held over the sister No. 4 entry (1993).

The No.3 Corvette has things well under control in the battle for the GTLM crown. Barry Cantrell/Motorsport Images

And while the GTLM title is all but out of reach for anyone outside of Corvette and the No. 3 squad, there’s a heated scrap for second in the standings as WeatherTech Racing’s Porsche 911 RSR (1984) is hot on the heels of the No. 4 C8.R.

With the same four races to complete as GTLM, GTD is where the real intrigue is found.

Turner Motorsport’s BMW M6 GT3 has a thin lead entering Monterey (1930 points) over the upstart Heart of Racing Aston Martin team (1912), and while the distance to Turner is greater than desired, Pfaff Motorsports – winners of the most recent race at Elkhart Lake – are within striking distance (1830) with its Porsche 911 GT3 R if the next race or two produce favorable results.

The same is true for Paul Miller Racing and its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (1806). With a longer haul to reach its BMW, Aston Martin, and Porsche, it won’t be easy, but the former GTD champions are more than capable of executing a strong close to the season and making it a proper four-way challenge to claim the title.

NBCSN will air the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship live on Sunday starting at 4 p.m. ET.