Review: IMSA's New Docuseries Off to a Winning Start
John Dagys takes a look at new 'Win the Weekend' docuseries that chronicles the launch of IMSA's new GTP class...
Since the release of Netflix’s “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” series in 2019, the popular docuseries format has been replicated in various other forms of motorsport, including sports car racing, to varying degrees of success.
From the FIA World Endurance Championship’s ‘WEC Full Access’ to the ‘Mbedded’ series from BMW and a number of others, the once rare behind-the-scenes access has almost become a normality for fans of the sport.
IMSA and Michelin are looking to take it one step further with its newly released ‘Win the Weekend’ docuseries that debuts ahead of next weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Available on IMSA’s YouTube channel, the eight-part series produced by Tangent Vector chronicles the launch of the highly anticipated GTP class in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
And based on the first episode, which was released on Wednesday, there will be plenty of storylines to follow as the gripping first season of the new formula unfolds.
The series kicks off with a look back at the two IMSA-sanctioned GTP tests at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and Daytona International Speedway last year, which saw the first public on-track appearances for the LMDh machinery.
As chronicled throughout the development process, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for any of the four manufacturers and ‘Win the Weekend’ doesn’t hold back in this department.
While Porsche Penske Motorsport is positioned as the so-called early favorite, having been the first to hit the track with its Porsche 963 last January, the episode provides an overview of the supply chain and reliability challenges that Porsche and fellow GTP class brands Acura, BMW and Cadillac have all faced.
Acura’s double setback at the Road Atlanta test, which saw two unrelated accidents including one due to a parts failure, is documented along with BMW’s race against time to gets its second BMW M Hybrid V8 on track at Daytona after only testing with a single car until December.
NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman along with veteran IMSA GT driver Andy Lally and Vasser Sullivan mechanic Bozi Tatarevic serve as a panel of analysts for the docuseries, providing unique paddock-level insight at key points during the 15-minute episode.
A large focus is placed on the challenges of the spec hybrid system, which has been integrated into each manufacturers’ uniquely designed cars. While not going into over-the-top detail, the commentators help put the new technology into simplified terms yet still point out some of the specific differences each OEM has taken.
However, those hoping to get unobstructed views of the cars’ suspension components or engines would be disappointed as they are blurred out in this episode. This could change later in the season.
Making up for some of the masked visuals are candid interviews with key players on both the series and manufacturer/teams side and some faces you wouldn’t typically see on camera.
While 2022 DPi champion Tom Blomqvist is featured, so is IMSA’s senior engineer of performance and simulation Bill Pearson and Eric Hsu, a senior race engineer for Honda Performance Development (pictured above), which provides a unique mix of insight.
Michelin’s contribution to make the docuseries a reality shouldn’t be overlooked either, especially coming in a crucial season that will see significant strides in efficiency both with reduced energy and tire consumption for the new breed of prototypes.
While followers of the sport will be witnessing the competition debut of the GTP class cars in ten days’ time, there will be further anticipation for the release of the docuseries’ second episode shortly after the Rolex 24 for an inside look to see how it all went.