During a season in which street courses were wiped from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Saturday’s Motul 100% Synthetic Grand Prix at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) might offer the closest approximation of those tight circuits.
“A lot of the infield feels like a street course with a lot of walls and not a lot of room for error,” said Corvette Racing driver Jordan Taylor, who tested his C8.R at the track last month. “That’s a lot different compared to Daytona where you have some grass and exit curbs, whereas at Charlotte some of the apexes and exit curbs are concrete walls.
“Learning the track was pretty stressful because there are some bumps in odd places and the flow feels a bit funny. The chicanes with the big blue curbs, we can’t really touch those. One of the other cars there in testing crashed twice just from clipping the blue curbs. Definitely there will be some attrition. It’s definitely going to be one of the tougher races. We were lucky to test there.”
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The 100-minute race around the 10-turn, 2.32-mile layout will feature only the GTLM and GTD classes, and the track essentially will be a one-off for IMSA, which won’t return to the Roval on its 2021 schedule.
Corvettes have won five of the past six races in GTLM, including four by No. 3 drivers Taylor and Antonio Garcia. With four races remaining the lead the standings by 17 points (226-209) over No. 4 teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.
In the GTD class, Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry of the Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 (which paced practice Friday night) enter with a lead on Aaron Telitz and Jack Hawksworth of the AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
Fastest from practice one under the lights at @CLTMotorSpdwy:
— IMSA (@IMSA) October 10, 2020
“I was kind of expecting it to be a bit Mickey Mouse, but it really isn’t,” Hawksworth said after testing at the Roval. “It’s a super-high-intensity, high-level, technical track. I think the racing is going to be insane.
“I have to say I really enjoyed the circuit. It surprised me how much fun it was to drive. That place is a street circuit on steroids in one of our cars. (You’re) really, really on the limit, difficult chicanes, walls everywhere, no room for error at all. It feels like you’re flying. There’s no rest, either. It’s probably the most physical track that we go to.”
Here are the details for IMSA Saturday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (all times are ET):
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at the Roval
WHEN: Today, 8 p.m.
RADIO: IMSA Radio will have live radio coverage on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, as well as SiriusXM
RACE DISTANCE: A timed event of 100 minutes (shortest of the season) on the 17-turn, 2.28-mile course at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.
FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 69 degrees with a 50% chance of rain at the green flag.
IMSA at the Roval today
9:45-11 a.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice
2-2:40 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying, IMSA.com
8 p.m. — WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Motul 100% Synthetic Grand Prix, NBCSN, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold