A record total of 19 manufacturers are eligible for competition at Sebring this year, marking a new record in participation within the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), the sports car racing sanctioning body at Sebring.
It comes as IMSA kicks off its 50th anniversary celebration beginning this weekend at Daytona and then heading to Sebring, March 13-16.
“As our 50th Anniversary season begins, having a record number of manufacturers in our championships speaks volumes to the global relevance IMSA has confirmed as we look forward to the start of 2019 and beyond,” IMSA CEO Ed Bennett said.
“Our strategy of providing dynamic, cost-effective platforms to showcase a wide variety of manufacturer technical specifications is rewarding for all involved, but race fans are the main beneficiary. It’s a fantastic time to be an IMSA fan.”
Manufacturers eligible at Sebring to compete in either the 67th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday, March 16th, or the Friday Michelin Pilot Challenge race, include:
- Acura – Fields two ARX-05 DPis with Acura Team Penske and also is represented by two Acura NSX GT3 entries in the GTD class from Meyer Shank Racing.
- Alfa Romeo – Joins Pilot Challenge TCR class with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
- Aston Martin – Participates in the Pilot Challenge GS class.
- Audi – Competes in both the WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge with entries in three different classes.
- BMW – A longtime IMSA competitor with entries in both the WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge. Two BMW M8 GTEs in GT Le Mans, one BMW M6 GT3 in GTD and five BMW M4 GT4 entries in Pilot Challenge GS class.
- Cadillac – The premium brand from General Motors has the most entries of any DPi-class manufacturer, with six Cadillac DPi-V.R entries likely to compete at Sebring.
- Chevrolet – Race cars in both the WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge. Its pair of Corvette C7.R race cars fielded by Corvette Racing have yielded the past three consecutive GTLM driver and team titles. Chevrolet is represented in Pilot Challenge by a Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R in the GS class.
- Ferrari – A staple of sports car racing, the premium Italian brand is represented in two different WeatherTech Championship classes. The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE is the lone car with the prancing horse in GTLM, but there are three 488 GT3 entries in GTD. IMSA also sanctions the single-make Ferrari Challenge series in the United States which will come to Sebring in April.
- Ford – The “Blue Oval” is also represented in both the WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge. Its pair of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs return to the GTLM class in 2019, while there are several Ford Mustang GT4s expected on the grid at Sebring in the GS class.
- Honda – Returns to Pilot Challenge in 2019 with the Honda Civic TCR.
- Hyundai – A newcomer to IMSA competition in 2019, Hyundai enters the Pilot Challenge TCR class. Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian will field two brand-new Hyundai Veloster N TCR machines.
- Lamborghini – The Italian manufacturer picked up its first WeatherTech Championship GTD manufacturer championship in 2018. This year, at least three Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo entries are expected in the GTD class at Sebring.
- Lexus – The WeatherTech Championship GTD class has included a pair of Lexus RC F GT3s since 2017. This year, the pair of GTD entries will be fielded by AIM Vasser Sullivan.
- Mazda – Recognized for its rich motorsport heritage, Mazda’s 2019 IMSA representation comes via the pair of Mazda RT24-P DPis fielded by Mazda Team Joest.
- McLaren – The British manufacturer will continue its Pilot Challenge program in 2019, with a pair of McLaren 570S GT4 entries in the GS class at Daytona.
- Mercedes-AMG – Since joining IMSA for the first time in 2017, the premium German brand has steadily grown its presence with customer programs in both the WeatherTech Championship and Pilot Challenge. There will be two Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the GTD class at Sebring, with several Mercedes-AMG GT4 entries in the GS class.
- Nissan – The manufacturer is the defending Sebring champion and will be represented in the IMSA 50th Anniversary season by the No. 54 CORE autosport Nissan Onroak DPi entry.
- Porsche – The winningest manufacturer ever at Sebring, Porsche will be well represented once again in 2019. There are two Porsche 911 RSRs in the WeatherTech Championship GTLM class, with three Porsche 911 GT3 Rs slated to compete in GTD. The Pilot Challenge entry list contains eight Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports in the GS class. Porsche will also have several entries in Friday’s WEC race at Sebring.
- Volkswagen – The German manufacturer continues its IMSA relationship with race cars eligible to compete in the Pilot Challenge TCR class.
During the 2018 season, 11 of the 13 manufacturers who competed in the WeatherTech Championship won at least one race, and every manufacturer had at least one podium. At Sebring’s 12-hour classic last year, every car the qualified in the top ten was within one second of the pole position time.
THE FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) also brings a stellar list of manufacturers for the 1,000 Miles of Sebring race on Friday, March 15th, the day before the IMSA 12-hour classic. The entry list will be highlighted by the appearance of the Le Mans winning Toyota LMP1.