Mark Raffauf - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Grand-Am Road Racing officials have announced a unique point system to determine winners in an inaugural season of the North American Endurance Championship, a three-race series that includes the Rolex 24 at Daytona (January 28-29), Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on July 1 and the Super Weekend at the Brickyard, the first Rolex Sports Car Series race on the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.605-mile road/oval course on July 27.
Grand-Am has decided to award points on a 5-4-3-2 basis for drivers and teams in both the Daytona Prototype and GT classes. It's the customary slide with first place in either category gaining five points, four points for second, three for third and two for fourth - and each following position in the field. While it seems a bit like convoluted, the objective is to score events differently so that drivers and teams can earn a maximum of 20 points at each of the three contests.
Here's how Grand-Am wants it to work: for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, points will be awarded, based on the standings in each at class at six hours, 12 hours, 18 hours and at the 24-hour completion of the race. At Watkins Glen International, points will be tallied at the three-hour mark and the close of competition, multiplied by two. In Indianapolis, points will be gained at the close of the three-hour race, then multiplied by four.
"We wanted to come up with a point system that was different from the regular Rolex series," said Mark Raffauf, managing director of competition for Grand-Am. "We feel the new system will be fun for both fans and participants, while at the same time promoting close competition."
In order to gain points, drivers must compete for a minimum of 30 minutes at each event. Team points will be awarded for the highest-finishing car from multiple car entries, with the team's additional cars not counted in the standings. Grand-Am will break ties per the standard 2012 Rolex Series rules, based on the number of victories, second-place finishes and down the line.
The inaugural North American Endurance Championship prizes will be awarded on the Victory Podium at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, July 27, following completion of the series' inaugural race on the road/oval course once used by Formula One.