IMSA, or the International Motor Sports Association, was founded in 1969 by John Bishop with the help of NASCAR President Bill France Sr., who was also a 12-year employee of Sports Car Club of America (SCCA).  IMSA’s Six Hours of the Glen will be coming to Watkins Glen International from June 28 through July 1 this year, but what is IMSA, exactly?

The IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship is the premier sports car racing series in North America, featuring two styles of cars: Prototype and GT.  Both Prototype and GT styles have a Pro and a Pro-am class, which means that there are four classes of racing on the track together, each battling for the lead in their class.

The Prototype Class has the fastest and most technologically advanced cars in North America and boasts an all pro driver line up.  In 2018, IMSA is going to set the stage for a new era of prototype racing in North America with its all new race cars, including the Daytona Prototype International.  

Meanwhile, the Prototype Challenge class is a spec class.  This means that each car is exactly the same.  These cars offer open cockpits, carbon fiber chassis, carbon brakes, and sequential gearboxes.

The GT Le Mans class uses the same technical regulations as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race series created by Don Panoz, which ran its first season in 1999.

The GTLM cars are considered the fastest and most elite GT cars on the track, engineered for maximum performance.  This class, like the Prototype Class, features an all pro driver lineup, where manufacturers like BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford, and Porsche can try to prove themselves the best sports car.  

The GT Daytona class competes with production models that use the Global FIA GT3 specification.  While the GT Daytona cars don’t offer the same aerodynamics and power as the GT Le Mans class cars, they still have an impressive 450 horsepower engines and can reach speeds up to 175 miles per hour.

The IMSA Weathertech Championship will be featuring visual, on-car enhancements to help fans follow the action on the track, the first of which is a simplified color system.  Pro style cars will be feature red, while Pro-am style cars will feature green.  These colors will be displayed on each car’s number panel as well as its class decal and leader light.  Additionally, each car will have an LED-lit panel on its side which will display its current class position in either red or green as designated based on the car’s style.

For more information on IMSA, check out their official website at