IMSA has been riding a wave of positive news recently. New cars have been confirmed for the GTD class for next season. The new for 2017 DPi Prototype formula is starting to gain some traction. Things are trending up for IMSA. However, today we have some potentially scary news for North America’s Sportscar Series. Weathertech Porsche has pulled out for the remainder of the season amid a Balance of Performance (BoP)dispute. On Wendsday IMSA confirmed the BoP for VIR which saw no changes for the Porsches racing in the GT Daytona class. Weathertech Porsche has not been happy with how BoP has been going all season. They have hovered around mid pack all season. While other cars saw a boost in performance Porsche has remained status quo.
“The decision to stop racing was rooted purely on performance and the future prospects for the Porsche at the remaining tracks on the 2016 schedule,” team owner Alex Job told Sportscar365.
“The conclusion was based upon the performance in direct comparison to the competition over the past eight GTD races and the possible variations of how the BoP could play out over the next three races with our engineering team and IMSA.”
It is worth mentioning that Alex Job’s other team, the Team Seattle Porsche who sits 5th in the points will continue to race.
IMSA released the following statement on the subject:
“IMSA was recently informed of the decision to suspend participation of the No. 22 Alex Job Racing entry in GTD class competition of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. One of the most significant and defining elements of sports car racing is the variety of cars, brands and technologies within our highly competitive GT categories. The IMSA Technical Committee was established to professionally manage the complex Balance of Performance process to ensure fair and close competition among the many participating brands and teams. The committee operates with a transparent, data-driven process which closely analyzes both actual race performance and related observation factors. We are disappointed the No. 22 car will not be competing at our next event, but remain committed to our ongoing process.”
BoP is a black art. What makes GT3 racing so good is the variety of cars, that is also what makes BoP so difficult. IMSA is at the forefront with how they determine their BoP. Monitoring based on numerous different factors, such as overall speed, throttle position, even the racing line used. That’s not to say they get everything correct 100% of the time.
IMSA finds themselves in a very difficult position. Let’s not forget that the title sponsor of the Series is also the primary sponsor of the #22. Cooper MacNeil, the son of Weathertech founder and CEO David MacNeil, is one of the full-season driver for the #22. This puts IMSA squarely between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand you never want to tick off your primary sponsor. On the other you do not want to make changes based on a team pulling out of the Series based on BoP. You do not want the precedent set that if you leave or threaten to leave we will give in. It appears IMSA is going to stick to its guns. Not making any changes and I applaud them for that.
“This is a competition decision as it relates to the No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche team in IMSA,” David MacNeil (CEO of Weathertech) said. “We make marketing decisions based upon what is best for our business.”
MacNeil’s statement is encouraging for IMSA but they are by no means out of the woods yet. Yes they have had their sponsor publicly back them and their decision. But Teams deciding not to race is never a good thing. Hopefully IMSA can work things out with the #22 team. Hopefully they can come to some form of mutually acceptable agreement for the benefit of the fans. Because let’s face it, to the fans this comes across as rich people arguing about their toys. And THAT is not good.