What Next Year Holds – 2014 Tudor United Sports Car Schedule

spirit-of-daytona

TUDOR-USCROn September 20th 2013 IMSA announced the Tudor United SportsCar Championship Schedule.   The season will be a total of 12 events visiting many of the old standbys but there will no doubt be some people missing some of the old venues.   The finalized schedule is below.


2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Schedule

Date Event
Jan 25-26 Daytona International Speedway
Mar 15 Sebring International Raceway
Apr 12 Long Beach Street Circuit
May 4 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
May 31 Detroit Belle Isle
Jun 29 Watkins Glen International
Jul 13 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Jul 25 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug 10 Road America
Aug 24 Virginia International Raceway
Sep 20 Circuit of The Americas
Oct 4 Road Atlanta

The beginning of the season will start early in the year with a late January date at Daytona.  The debut event will be a visit to the high banks for the 24 hour race, still titled the Rolex 24.  A personal favorite for me will be to see the teams head back to Sebring for the endurance race at the classic old airfield.  This event has traditionally been a big development step for the teams headed for Le Mans, and the tough and bumpy surface will test new equipment, drivers and teams for a total of 12 hours.  

Next will be a visit to the west coast and Long Beach which should provide the excitement and bunch of damaged hardware that the street circuits usually bring to the schedule.  This race will be run in conjunction with the IZOD IndyCar series.  Historic Monterrey will be next stop and I look forward to seeing the combined series running through the classic “Corkscrew” at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Mazda Raceway  was a track visited by both series but it was separately, so fans of both series should be satisfied with the visit to this familiar venue.  

As the season winds into May we will see a visit to Detroit Belle Isle for another companion race with IndyCar.  The “Motor City” although not one of my favorite tracks, should provide a place for many of the car and supplier partners to see the championship close up and at home.  The Next stop is at Watkins Glen another track with along pedigree in motorsports, including recently the Rolex Series,  Formula 1 and many years of sports car racing including the old IMSA Camel GT series.  The New York track will again host a 6 hour endurance race titled The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.  

The 7th event of the series will take teams out of the US boarders for a trip to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.  This facility formerly known as Mosport International Raceway is known for very high speed sweeping corners and the challenging Moss Corner which leads on to a very long straightaway, the location is currently undergoing a massive renovation project.   Indianapolis will be the stop for late July , and will share the facility with the Nascar crowd and teams.  This could be a good cross marketing opportunity and draw some clear motorsports fans into the sports car fan crowd.   Early August will see activity up in the land of the cheese heads, with an event at Road America in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin.  The large spread out facility, very temperate weather and excellent Bratwurst and beer makes a visit to this venue another favorite on my list, however that could just be the beer talking.   

VIR will host the series for an event on August 24th, this was a staple on the Rolex calendar, but having had a chance to drive this track once myself, I am eager to see the series visit here, and saddened by the fact that the iconic Oak Tree Corner will not be the same after the tree fell in July of 2013.  COTA, or Circuit of The Americas will be the 2nd to last event on the 2014 calendar this new track has really shown itself to be a world class facility and drivers and fans seem to be crazy about almost any series that visits this venue.  I predict another good show at this facility and look forward to seeing this event be successful.  

You have heard me mention that I am eager to see some of the races at many of the above listed track, but I have to say my favorite has to be the final race of the schedule and that is Road Atlanta.  The event will still be called the Petit Le Mans and will share a link with the 24 hours of Le Mans.  For me there is something about October in Atlanta and a race that continues for 1000 miles and finishes after dark that just makes me want to celebrate, or at least go out for a drive. 

  I have to admit it might be because it was one of the first tracks where I saw modern IMSA sports car series run, but seeing cars crest the hill under the bridge and make the incredibly fast right hander coming to the finish gets my heart pumping!

I know there are some people out there who may be missing a favorite track and have already seen some people lamenting the loss of Lime Rock Park, the little bullring that created so much excitement.   I have also seen some of the fans that live in the central Midwest express dissatisfaction at losing the event at Kansas Speedway.  If you ask me it really does not fit into the same class as the iconic tracks that we see listed above, and I wondered how long it would stay on the schedule once the two series combined.   Overall I am pretty happy with schedule, I think many of the tracks bring a great history from motorsports past in the US and mix it up with some fresh venues like COTA and Belle Isle.  There is still a great deal to be delivered by this merged series, but I look forward in anticipation to what a United SportsCar Series can become in the next few years.