IMSA Diecast: 1994-1997

IMSA Logo

The World Sports Car Era begins

In the early 90's as the Group C championship was in crisis in Europe, IMSA's GTP class was also becoming stagnant. Toyota's GTP cars lapped the field in most of the races in 1992. The same year Jaguar anounced their withdrawl from the series after ten years of contiuous involvement. A class of open-cockpit spyder prototypes was created called 'World Sports Cars'. This was introduced in 1993, and completely repleced the GTP cars in 1994.

The right name...

The Ferrari 333SP epitomizes this concept, and endurance races had a prototype by the 'prancing horse' for the first time since 1972. The creators of the WSC rules must have let out a large sigh of relief when such a good-looking and good-performing car was made available to their teams. Other manufacturers such as Riley & Scott and Kudzu also built cars to this spec.

When its time for change, you got to re-arrange

Whenever such a huge rule change occurs as did between 1993 and 1994, there is bound to be sume odd occurances. Some teams simply cut the tops off of their GTP cars and turned them into open WSC cars.

Porsche 911 Turbo S LM

This one-off factory race car appeared at several major events, and was the forerunner of the 911 GT2 race car that appeared for the 1995 season.

IMSA 1994

1994 IMSA Classes

Name

Description

Eligable Cars

WSC

Open-topped Prototypes

Spice, Kudzu, Ferrari 333SP

GTS

Heavily Modified (tubeframe) and/or high powered production-based Grand Touring cars

Nissan, Corvette, Camaro
GTU Production-based Grand Touring cars Mazda RX-7, Porsche 911

 

International Motor Sports Association 1994

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Daytona 24 Hours
1Nissan 300ZX Turbo
Scott Pruett
Butch Leitzinger
Paul Gentilozzi
Steve Millen
76
GTS
Kyosho
K03217F
2Porsche 911 Turbo S LM (964)
Bob Wollek
Dominique Dupuy
Jésus Pareja
Jürgen Barth
86
GTS
Spark
S1933
16Ferrari 348 GTC
Didier Theys
Steve Shelton
Art Coia
Tom Shelton
62
GTU
Bang
8046
DNFNissan 300ZX Turbo
Steve Millen
John Morton
Johnny O'Connell
75
GTS
Kyosho
K03217E
Other Races
World Sports Car Class
0Ferrari 333SP 0
Minichamps
430 947400
3Ferrari 333SP
Andy Evans
Fermin Velez
03
Minichamps
(Cancelled)
430 947403 
5Ferrari 333SP
Mauro Baldi
5
Minichamps
430 947405
30Ferrari 333SP
Gianpiero Moretti
Eliseo Salazar
30
Minichamps
430 947430
50Ferrari 333SP 'Snap-on'
Jay Cochran
50
Minichamps
430 947450

IMSA 1995

This model sits all alone... just the one Kremer from this entire year of racing. But this car did prove that a common set of rules between Europe and the USA would bring some cross-competition.

International Motor Sports Association 1995

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Daytona 24 Hours
World Sports Car Class
1Kremer K8
Giovanni Lavaggi
Jürgen Lässig
Christophe Bouchut
Marco Werner
10
Spark
S0321

IMSA 1996

Oldsmobile Aurora GTS-1

An odd choice for a factory effort if there ever was one, as Oldsmobile was usually not considered a "sporty". But GM did it right, and had Pratt & Miller design the car, which according to many reports was not half bad...

Pratt & Miller would go on to create the now-legendary Corvette C5-R and C6.R race cars that have so dominated the modern-day GT1 class.

Classes

The classes would be renamed GTS-1 and GTS-2 for this year, and the influence of the BPR series in Europe was felt. Instead of tube-frame chassis, some GTS-1 cars had true unibody frames, making them closer to the "supercars" of the European series.

1996 IMSA Classes

Name

Description

Eligable Cars

WSC

Open-topped Prototypes

Ferrari 333SP, Riley & Scott MKIII

GTS-1

Heavily Modified (tubeframe) and/or high powered production-based Grand Touring cars

Porsche 911 Turbo, Dodge Viper
GTS-2 Production-based Grand Touring cars Porsche 911

IMSA 1996

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

World Sports Car Class
1Riley & Scott Mk III
Wayne Taylor
Scott Sharp
Jim Pace
20
WSC
Spark
s S0007
2Ferrari 333SP 'MOMO'
Max Papis
Didier Theys
Bob Wollek
Bill Auberlen
30
WSC
Minichamps
430 967430
GTS-1 Class
7Oldsmobile Aurora 'Aurora'
Irv Hoerr
Darin Brassfield
Rob Morgan
Joe Pezza
5
GTS-1
Minichamps
430 145605
29Dodge Viper GTS-R
Price Cobb
Mark Dismore
Shawn Hendricks
Tommy Archer
98
GTS-1
Minichamps
430 961498
50Oldsmobile Aurora 'Aurora'
Irv Hoerr
Darin Brassfield
Brian Cunningham
1
GTS-1
Minichamps
430 145601
54Porsche 911 GT2 'STP'
Hans-Joachim Stuck
Bill Adam
Thierry Boutsen
74
GTS-1
Minichamps
430 966774
TestOldsmobile Aurora 'Aurora'
Darin Brassfield
1
GTS-1
Minichamps
430 145600
GTS-2 Class
9BMW M3 'Valvoline'
David Donohue
John Paul Jr.
Javier Quiros
Halsmer
06
GTS-2
Minichamps
430 962306
53BMW M3 'Valvoline'
Pete Halsmer
Dieter Quester
Manfred Wollgarten
Kermit Upton
07
GTS-2
Minichamps
430 962307

PSCR 1997

In 1997, the IMSA name was dropped in favor of Professional Sports Car Racing. This was also the year that the growing BPR series became the FIA GT, and was making waves by attracting major manufacturers like Mercedes and Porsche. In response, the GTS-1 category was formed to allow these FIA GT1 supercars. Champion and Rohr raced Porsche 911 GT1's, and Panoz made its racing debut with the Esperante GTR run by the factory (The French DAMS team ran a semi-works effort in the FIA GT). The production classes were rearranged to make GTS-2 become GTS-3, and a new class of GTS-2 was created to mimic the FIA GT2.

The sprint races were run separately for GT and prototypes, and the long endurance races had all classes run together.

Andy Evans and the Sebring Caution Scandal

The Sebring-Winning 333SP has a very controversial history. At the time, Team Scandia driver-owner Andy Evans was also the owner of the entire IMSA series. According to many informed reports he used his influence to allow himself to make up time during a full-course caution period. This resulted in a very maligned victory.

Doran/Lista Ferrari #27

The Doran/Lista 333SP is given a catalog number that implies it is from 1996. All of the given the chassis and race data indicate it is most definitely from 1997. This car would eventually have a Judd engine and be nicknamed the "Fudd"

Professional Sports Car Racing 1997

Place

Car
Sponsor

Car # Class

Model

Ref. #

Image

Daytona 24 Hours
World Sports Car Class
1Riley & Scott Mk III
James Weaver
Butch Leitzinger
Rob Dyson
Andy Wallace
20
WSC
Spark
SCRS 08 
GTS-1 Class
7Porsche 911 GT1 'Rohr'
Jochen Rohr
Andy Pilgrim
Robert Nearn
01
GTS-1
Minichamps
430 976601
Sebring 12 Hours
World Sports Car Class
1Ferrari 333SP 'Scandia'
Andy Evans
Fermin Velez
Yannick Dalmas
3
WSC
Minichamps
430 977603
48Ferrari 333SP 'Scandia'
Andy Evans
Fermin Velez
Rob Morgan
43
WSC
Minichamps
430 977643
0Ferrari 333SP
Fredy Lienhard
Didier Theys
27
WSC
Minichamps
430 967627

American Sports Car Racing Numbers

Car numbers have traditionally been kept from year to year. This has led to certain numbers being "owned" by teams, even after they have ceased to exist. If you are starting a ubiquitous Porsche GT3RS effort, you would be wise to not apply any of the following to the side of your car, lest you be pelted with beer cans at Sebring.

Notable IMSA Car Numbers

Number

Team

History/Status

14

Al Holbert

Considered "retired" by IMSA staff

16

Dyson

Used since the 1985 season when they ran the Porsche 962

27

Doran

Adopted as a very appropriate Ferrari number when they bought the 333SP. Use continues on the 2002 Daytona-winning Dallara.

30

MOMO

The distinctive red-and-yellow livery and #30 were used on many cars from the early 80's until 1998. Since then a few minor teams have run with this number. I personally think it should be held in "reserve".

38

Champion

Champion switched to #38 when they "moved up" to the prototype classes. This number has appeared on the Porsche GT1, Lola, and Audi cars.

42

BMW Works Team

I'd keep it open because they say they're coming back next year..

43

BMW Works Team

See above

44

Group 44 Jaguar

Many beautiful cars were run sucessfully with this number during the halcyon GTP era. The number has been used occasionally since.

59

Brumos Porsche

Considered "retired" by IMSA staff, but has been used by recent Brumos-related efforts in the Grand-Am series.

63

Jim Downing Kudzu

Used on many Mazda-powered cars. First appeared in 1982 and was used on various Kudzu efforts as late as 2001.