The 1989 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) championship consisted of several classes. The Prototype division included Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) and GTP Lights for lighter and smaller displacement vehicles. In addition, there was a group for production-based cars, which was made up of Grand Touring Over (GTO), Grand Touring Under (GTU) and American Challenge (AC).

The Prototype and Grand Touring classes often competed in separate events. The longer races, such as the Sun Bank 24 at Daytona and 12-Hours of Sebring, would include both categories.

1989 Camel GT Championship for the Grand Touring teams kicked offs in early February at Daytona International Speedway. The next event on the schedule was the Grand Prix of Miami, followed by the 12 Hours of Sebring. After a two-month break, Grand Touring competitors returned to action at Summit Point Raceway and then a stop at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Teams travel north of the border for a 500 Km race at Mosport Park. Then it is on to Road America for an endurance event that includes all the IMSA classes except for American Challenge. After Road America, the series travels to the west coast for an event at Portland International Raceway. Next, there are stops at Heartland Park, the San Antonio street course and Sears Point Raceway. Returning to the east, the Grand Touring division holds contests at Watkins Glen International and Lime Rock Park. The penultimate round takes place at Laguna Seca Raceway, with the finale in Southern California at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

There are three different classes in the IMSA GT division:

  • Grand Touring Over (GTO) – The fastest of the production-based classes is for vehicles with an engine displacement over three-liters. This category also allows three-liter turbocharged motors. However, engine size for normally aspirated cars must not exceed six-liters. To ensure parity among the different bands and engine configurations, IMSA sets a minimum weight for each vehicle. Cars competing in this category include the Mercury Cougar XR-7, Audi 90 Quattro, Chevrolet Camaro and Nissan 300ZX.
  • Grand Touring Under (GTU) – This division is for vehicles equipped with an engine under three-liters. Turbocharging is not allowed and cars are required to have a minimum weight of 1,600-lbs. Other than the motor restrictions, they are prepared to similar rules as the GTO group. This class is home to the Mazda RX-7, Mazda MX-6, Nissan 240SX, Pontiac Fiero and Porsche 911.
  • American Challenge (AC) – This class uses a spec-chassis with a focus on affordability. These American-built cars are limited to V8 engines of less than or a V6 small than Turbocharging is not permitted. The weight of a car is determined by engine displacement with no vehicle, weighing less than 2,650-lbs. The Pontiac Grand Prix, Chevrolet Beretta, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera and Buick Somerset compete in this group.

The sixth race of the 1989 IMSA GT division was held at Mosport Park. Competitors would race around the ten turn 2.459-mile road course in a 500 Km event titled the Audi Quattro IMSA Weekend.

After a twenty-two-year hiatus, Lincoln / Mercury returned to competition. The Stroh’s Light Mercury Cougar XR-7s were prepared by Roush Racing. The No. 6 Cougar was driven by Pete Halsmer. Halsmer scored his first victory of 1989 at Daytona with Bob Earl. The GTO points leader would also grab a win at Miami. In round six, at Mosport, he battled with his teammate, Wally Dallenbach, before scoring another victory.
Driving the second Roush Racing entry was Wally Dallenbach. Dallenbach entered the Mosport round second in the GTO standings, having earned a victory at the 12-Hours of Sebring with Dorsey Schroeder. He was second fastest in qualifying, behind the wheel of the No. 9 Mercury XR-7. During the race, Dallenbach swapped the lead with Pete Halsmer but crashed on the final lap. However, he collected a second-place result.
Full Time Racing was campaigning a pair of Dodge Daytona. The team’s best result to date was a third in GTU for Joe Varde at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and a second third-place for the team principal, Kal Showket, at Summit Point Raceway. At Mosport, Showket stepped aside in favour of a local driver, Jeremy Dale. Dale started eighth overall in the No. 00 Dodge Daytona and gave the team its first GTU victory of the year.
SCCA and IMSA veteran Bob Leitzinger was second in the GTU title chase when the series arrived at Mosport Park – just a single point behind George Robinson. Leitzinger put the No. 95 Leitzinger Racing Nissan 240SX on the class pole and started seventh overall. During the 500 Km contest, he chased the eventual GTU winner Jeremy Dale. Leitzinger finished in the runner-up spot but now led the point standings.
The Mercury Cougar’s captured the first three rounds of the series, but as of late, the championship was dominated by the new Audi 90 Quattro. Hans Stuck was victorious at Summit Point and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The second entry was driven by Hurly Haywood. At Mosport, Haywood would be joined by Canadian Scott Goodyear. Their race ended on lap-109 when the No. 5 Audi developed an oil leak.
George Robinson opened the season with a ninth-place finish in the GTU category at Daytona. However, a podium result at Miami and wins at Sebring and Summit Point gave him the championship lead. At Mosport, Robinson qualified a disappointing thirteen overall and sixth in class driving the No. 74 Robinson Racing Pontiac Fiero. His race would end after only thirteen laps with an engine failure.

11GTOPete HalsmerMercury Cougar XR-7 / Roush Racing126-
22GTOWally Dallenbach, Jr.Mercury Cougar XR-7 / Roush Racing125Accident
38GTUJeremy DaleDodge Daytona / Full Time Racing116-
47GTUBob LeitzingerNissan 240SX / Leitzinger Racing116-
510GTU Amos Johnson / Dan RobsonMazda MX-6 GT / Team Highball114-
612ACMark Porcaro / Clay YoungChevrolet Beretta / Porcaro Racing113-
76GTORoger Mandeville / Kelly MarshMazda RX-7 / Mandeville Auto Tech113-
816GTUReed Kryder / Alistair OagNissan 300ZX / Kryderacing112-
94GTOHurley Haywood / Scott GoodyearAudi 90 Quattro / Audi of America109Oil Leak
1019ACDan OsterholtChevrolet Beretta / Osterholt Racing107-
1114GTUJeff Alkazian / Peter CramerMazda RX-7 / Overton Autosport107-
125GTOBuz McCall / Jack BaldwinChevrolet Camaro / Skoal Bandit Racing99Mechanical
1318ACRobert Borders / Alan WellsChevrolet Beretta / Borders Racing93Mechanical
1411GTULance StewartMazda RX-7 / Overton Autosport87Mechanical
1515GTUPaul Lewis / Juan NegronMazda RX-7 / Team Highball81Engine
1620ACClint Welding / John ClevelandPontiac Grand Prix / Welding Racing54Mechanical
179GTUJoe VardeDodge Daytona / Full Time Racing35Mechanical
1817GTUDick GreerMazda RX-7 / Greer Racing29Oil Leak
1921GTUAl Bacon Mazda MX-6 GT / Al Bacon Perf27Accident
203GTOHans-Joachim StuckAudi 90 Quattro / Audi of America20Steering
2113GTUGeorge RobinsonPontiac Fiero / Robinson Racing13Engine
2222GTUPatrick MooneyPorsche 911 / Mooney Racing1Mechanical

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