Race Starts & Qualifying Procedures

Race Starts

Prior to every event, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship gives spectators the opportunity to see the cars up close and meet their favorite drivers during an Open Grid/Fan Walk. The cars are lined up based on qualifying results, with the fastest overall car starting from the pole position, the second fastest qualifier starting second, and continuing until the grid is complete.

Competitors are always reminded that it’s impossible to win a race in the first turn of the first lap – but it’s very easy to lose one there.

For the drivers, with anticipation building on the grid, then the command to start the engines, and the adrenaline surging throughout the formation laps, many of them sometimes throw caution to the wind and sprint towards the first turn as quickly as possible.

As a result, race starts can be one of the most thrilling parts of the sport and potentially a turning point early in the race.

Qualifying Procedures

After several practice sessions and prior to a race, cars participate in a brief, yet critical, qualifying session that determines where each car will start the race. As the race unfolds. the advantage of having a better starting position can pay huge dividends.

Qualifying is divided into 15-minute segments for each IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class. The driver with the fastest lap in the session earns the Motul Pole Award and starts the race in first. The second fastest qualifier starts second, and the process continues based on lap times until the grid is complete.

Per the rules, only one driver is allowed to qualify the car and it is not mandatory to use the entire 15-minute session. Drivers may also come in and out of the pits to make minimal adjustments with the permission of IMSA officials.

If qualifying is canceled, starting grids are set by team points and if a driver causes a red flag during qualifying, that driver will lose their fastest lap from the qualifying session.