This weekend will bring a close to the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) season, and it’ll happen once again at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia for the 10-hour Petit Le Mans event. If you’re thinking about tuning in, here’s what you need to know.
Petit Le Mans is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a 10-hour endurance event that’s much shorter than the 24-hour slog that is Le Mans, but it holds a special place in American race fans’ hearts because it’s usually one hell of a fun event that comes with a lot of emotion.
This year, PLM is taking place in November instead of its traditional September as a result of schedule changes and COVID-19 season alterations. Since we’ve turned our clocks back already, timing is going to play a huge factor. About half of this year’s PLM will be run in the darkness where it normally sets with around two hours left in the race. And while you can check with Bob Pockrass if you need to, I can assure you that Road Atlanta has lights, but they’re not exactly known for their stunning illumination powers.
The race starts at noon and ends just after 10 p.m. ET this Saturday, so it’s a perfect race to enjoy on a lazy weekend.
This year, 45 different cars from five classes have entered the event.
This year, the championships for three classes have yet to be decided, and it’ll all come down to Petit Le Mans. The points leaders in LMP2 (No. 52 PRI Mathiasen Motorsports) and GTLM (No. 3 Corvette Racing) just need to start the race in order to secure their championships.
At the very peak of IMSA competition, the DPi rivalry is close and comes down to two teams: Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing. The No. 10 WTR machine has a mere 19-point edge over its competition, which is meager when you think about the sheer number of points a winner receives this year (350 for first place, 320 for second, etc.). There’s a very good chance this championship will be decided by the team that finishes better on the track.
Then comes the LMP3 championship, which has been competitive all year. Right now, the No. 74 Riley Motorsports team has a 50-point lead over the rest of the competition, but there are three other teams that could theoretically challenge for the crown — and with 10 cars in the class, there’s also a good chance we could see some chaos strike along the way.
And that brings us to the three-way battle for the GTD championship that consists of the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports team, followed by No. 1 Paul Miller Racing and No. 23 Heart of Racing. Pfaff leads PMR by 50 points and Heart of Racing by 177, but with a 15-car class, there’s still a lot that could happen.
The race starts at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, November 13. To tune in, you have several options:
- 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. ET on NBC, 3 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC
- TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, which will run flag to flag
- Streaming on the NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold
- IMSA.com will start live streaming on Friday at 3:40 p.m. ET
- All sessions will be live on IMSA Radio and RadioLeMans.com. SiriusXM coverage begins Saturday at noon (Sirius 216, XM 202, Internet 992)