IMSG to Form New Road Racing Stock Car Series
7 July 1997The International Motor Sports Group (IMSG) announced the formation of the United States Road Racing Stock-Car Championship. The series will provide competitors a showcase for tube-frame construction instead of the commonly used unibody style. Andy Evans, CEO and Chairman of IMSG commented" This is the next step in a five-year plan to restructure professional road racing in North America." This announcement follows the recent IMSG press release that IMSG and Pro-Racing SCCA had broken off merger talks. The Trans-Am series was viewed as the "diamond in the rough" asset of the SCCA Pro-Racing Series.
The news of the new racing series was met with some concern from the SCCA. With only one manufacturer involved (Ford) in the Trans-Am series the idea of a competing series was met with mixed reactions from competitors. A number of teams replied that "they would wait until the rule book was scrutinized" before making comment.
IMSG will add a StockCar Commission to its recently formed GT and SportsCar Commissions in North America. The first two members of this group have already been named. Dave Watson will serve as Brand Manager. Mike Lozano of Lozano Brothers Racing Engines was also named to the commission.
IMSG plans to hold 10-12 races in 1998 with $2,000,000 in appearance money. The group also plans to post a per race purse of more than $50,000.00. IMSG hopes to attract teams that currently participate in GTS-1, Trans-Am, ARCA and ASA. The idea that IMSG hopes to attract teams from GTS-1 causes speculation that GT racing is about to undergo some major budget escalations. For those GTS-1 teams that cannot afford the anticipated increased budgets this new series is seen as a new home. The series hopes to keep new car construction under $100,000 with engines under $30,000. A target of $500,000 for an annual racing budget was speculated by IMSG. There was no mention of the all-important TV package. However the recent announcement by the Fox Sports Network to carry the PSR series next year causes speculation that this new series will have TV.
The 1998 SportsCar season will be, if anything, interesting. The formation of the World Manufacturer's Council for North America was seen as a positive and much-needed step in a common racing formula. The first two shakeout tests for 1998 will come in October of this year when the Europeans invade America for the races in Sebring and Laguna Seca. This most recent announcement is seen as another step by Andy Evans to become a dominant player in North American motorsports.
David Treffer -- The Auto Channel