Jim France talks IMSA

France says his team is ‘up to their eyeballs’ in trying to figure out the changing digital landscape

Jim France is currently a chairman for IMSA. At the same time, he’s the CEO of NASCAR. The NASCAR role was picked up as Brian France stepped down following an arrest in August.

But, Jim France’s passion remains with sportscar racing. Not that he’s not passionate about NASCAR. But, his focus has been on IMSA since Brian France took the role of NASCAR CEO in 2003.

Today, the Rolex 24 at Daytona is underway. The first race of the season also marks the 50th anniversary of IMSA.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona


IMSA represents series officials. However, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the FIA are the ones that set the standards for class rules from a technical standpoint.

Is this going to continue into the future? Or do you see a point where IMSA breaks away to take more control of class structures?

“It’s important to keep everyone, globally, working together. There’s challenges with technology changing everything so rapidly,” Jim France stated.

“And it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. If you’re a big box store, they’re all trying to figure out where the world’s going.”

“If you’re in the media, the changing landscape there is unbelievable. What we’re going through. And where the kids are going and how things are being consumed.”

“We’re up to out eyeballs in trying to figure that out too, as key players in motorsports. It’s our most important thing, to work together to try and keep our sport healthy and relevant.”

“The global world we live in, nobody’s kind of isolated anymore. We’re trying to be the best stewards that we can be as my father, John and that generation were ahead of us.”

“We’re in a very interesting time. It’s kinda scary. But, it’s very exciting too.”

“There’s people that have a real passion for this. So, I feel confident of where we’re going to wind up. But, we gotta make it happen too. It’s not going to just happen. Or if it does, it make not be what we’d like to see.”

Retro IMSA
Retro IMSA

Changes in the sport

All forms of racing have seen drastic changes. The introduction of the personal computer drastically increased this progression.

“An example of how things have progressed… This year, we broke a 26 year record with a car that has half the horsepower,” France explains.

“The number of cars that are running at the end together, fighting for the lead. In what we call the ‘Golden Age’, that never happened.”

“We had guys winning by 20 laps. Here, you go through the entire grid and there’s a fight for 24 hours amoung several cars.”

“I’ve never seen anything like that, in the old days. We are in a special time.”

Fernando Alonso - Wayne Taylor Racing
Fernando Alonso – Wayne Taylor Racing (Photo: Brian Cleary/www.bcpix.com)

What brings drivers from around the world to IMSA?

IMSA has worldwide attention. A bulk of the drivers in the Rolex 24 don’t race in America on a regular basis. The series draws from the WEC and the top of the open wheel racing world, F1.

“Drivers will come to a really big event if they think they can win it, they’ll come. That’s one of the advantages of the rules in our series.”

“We’ve got so many great teams with really good seats. Just about any one of them could win their category. It becomes a much easier prospect to get these great drivers.”

“I think we’re going to have another barn burner. It’s fierce competition. It’s art. Racing’s art and this racing’s real hard.”


IMSA | Daytona International Speedway