FINDLAY, Ohio (Nov. 23, 2009)—The International Motor Sports Association is renaming its IMSA Lites prototype development road-racing series the Cooper Tire Prototype Lites Championship in a deal with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
Findlay-based Cooper is taking over the series title from Frisby Performance Tire and tire supply contract from Hankook Tire America Corp. Frisby was the presenting sponsor this past season and Hankook the tire supplier for the past three seasons.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, although there will be a $500 Cooper Tire Pole Position Award for the fastest qualifier on each event weekend, and Cooper said it will offer series teams discounts on Cooper tires for trucks, transporters and company cars.
The IMSA Lites series offers three classes of competition: The premier L1 class features Elan Motorsports Technologies' DP02 prototype powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda MP2 engine; West Racing's WX10 and WR1000 chassis are eligible in the L2 class, powered by 1,000cc motors from Kawasaki or Suzuki; and Elan's DP08 with a 2.3-liter Mazda MZR-R competes in the L3 class, Cooper said.
The 2010 Cooper Tire Prototype Lights Championship will consist of 16 races over eight race weekends, seven of which will be held in support of the American Le Mans Series. The exception is a June 26-27 weekend at New Jersey Motorsport Park.
“Being involved with a prestigious road racing organization such as IMSA allows Cooper's research and development efforts to be showcased both on the track and on the road,” said Chris Pantani, director of motorsports for Cooper Tire. “Driving business back to our dealers is an integral part of our motorsports program.”
The series starts March 18-19 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., and concludes Sept. 30-Oct 1 at Road Atlanta near Braselton, Ga.
Braselton-based IMSA is a sanctioning body for road racing in North America that works closely with the ALMS. It also sanctions the Cooper Tires Formula Atlantic championship.