The grid will be set for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona by a 100-minute race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.
In addition to setting the starting order, drivers will earn points toward the season championship by their finishing order in the qualifying race.
The Motul Pole Award 100 will be broadcast (on a tape delay) on NBCSN.
A pair of races will be held this weekend as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, beginning Saturday with the Scouts of America 145 at 12:50 p.m. for the LMP3 cars.
Then all five classes of the IMSA WeatherTech series will race Sunday at 2:05 p.m. in the Motul Pole Award 100, broadcast on tape delay at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
“It’s a hundred-minute race, and the results of that race will set the starting grid of the Rolex 24 at Daytona,” IMSA president John Doonan told Autoweek. “If you have a car with three or four drivers, only two will race in the Motul 100, but all drivers who are entered will get points.”
IMSA is giving points for qualifying in 2021, a new move to help “incentivize performance,” Doonan said.
Fifteen-minute qualifying sessions will be held on Saturday to set the grid for the Motul 100, with a 20-minute practice session on Sunday morning for the two-per-car race drivers.
“The Rolex 24 at Daytona is a special event that is worthy of a unique qualifying format,” said Doonan in a previous statement. “Not unlike the Daytona 500, which has set its field through the Duel at Daytona qualifying races for decades, introducing the Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race for the Rolex 24 brings a new and exciting dynamic to the Roar.”
The Motul 100 is expected to effectively put an end to “sandbagging,” which is the practice of driving slower than the car can go to avoid being penalized during practice and qualifying with a “Balance of Performance” adjustment of likely adding weight to the brand of car that is, according to IMSA officials, going faster than it is expected to.
The BoP is meant to level the playing field, and has long been a bone of contention.
Tickets for Sunday are $15.
A 100-minute qualifying race will definitely add to the fun of the traditional Roar Before the 24. But is that a good way to set the grid for the race? Do drivers care enough about season points standings that they'll go all out in the qualifying race? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.