In 2006, the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) introduced IMSA Lites. The series was created to provide an opportunity for drivers competing at the amateur level to advance to a professional series or to prepare for a category such as the American Le Mans (ALMS). The mission is to develop future drivers and teams for the ALMS. Three years later, the series was exceeding IMSA's expectations.

IMSA Lites features three classes of purpose-built sports racing prototypes – Lites 1, Lites 2 and Lites 3. The primary factor determining the categorization of a car is engine displacement.

  • Lites 1 (L1) – This is the fastest category. The most common vehicle in this group is the Elan DP-02 manufactured by Elan Van Diemen. The DP-02 features a carbon fiber monocoque fitted with an aerodynamic package that includes a front splitter, diffuser and rear wing. The car is powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder Mazda MZR motor mounted to a six-speed sequential transmission.
  • Lites 2 (L2) – This group includes several chassis and engine combinations. The West WR1000 is a popular choice powered by a 1000-cc Kawasaki ZX engine. The car also uses an electronic paddle-shift system.
  • Lites 3 (L3) – Only one car competes in this category. The Van Diemen DP-06, introduced by the Sports Car Club of America in 2002, is powered by a 2.3-liter Mazda MZR engine.

2008 IMSA Lites Championship consisted of six race weekends, with doubleheaders at each event.

  • March 13-14 – Sebring International Raceway
  • May 17-18 – Miller Motorsports Park
  • July 11-12 - Lime Rock Park
  • August 23-24 – Mosport International Raceway
  • October 2-3 - Road Atlanta
  • October 18-19 – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

In addition to a driver’s championship, there are also titles for Teams and Constructors.

The penultimate weekend rounds nine and ten of the 2008 IMSA Lites Championship were conducted at Road Atlanta. Drivers would compete in two races around the twelve turn 2.54-mile road course.

Twenty-one IMSA Lites competitors started round nine of the championship at Road Atlanta. Leading the field through the track’s corners three and four combination is the pole-sitter, Jonathan Goring, in the No. 14 Inspire Motorsports Elan DP-02. Behind Goring is the second-fastest qualifier, Matt Downs, driving the No. 17 Eurosport Racing Elan DP-02. Trailing the leaders is the No. 7 Elan DP-02 of Joel Feinberg.
Another weekend of the 2008 IMSA Lites Championship and another sweep for the L1 competitor Jonathan Goring. The L1 points leader was piloting the No. 14 Inspire Motorsports Elan DP-02. Goring qualified on the class and overall pole for round nine and led flag-to-flag and set a new race lap record. The next day, he delivered the same results with the exception of a new race lap record.
The L2 points leader, Tom Drewer, had another dominant weekend. Driving the No. 45 Daily Planet Racing West WR1000, he qualified on the class pole both days and led from start to finish and set a new race lap record. His performance during the season meant that with the two victories at Road Atlanta, he secured the title before the final event, two races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Last season, L3 competitor, Chris Doyle, made his IMSA Lites Championship debut and had no wins or podium results to show for his efforts. He returned this year campaigning the familiar No. 62 Trench Shoring Services sponsored Van Diemen DP-06. Doyle collected two wins as he was the only driver at Road Atlanta entered in the L3 category.
The No. 17 Eurosport Racing DP-02 was driven by Matt Downs. Downs joined the IMSA Lites Championship in 2007 and only competed in four L1 races but finished on the podium twice and was eleventh in the final standings. In race one at Road Atlanta, he qualified second fastest and chased Jonathan Gore to finish in the runner-up spot by 9.591-seconds. In the finale, he started second but finished fourth.
Pursuing the new L2 champion, Tom Drewer, all weekend was Jim Garrett. Garrett, one of Drewer’s teammates, was driving the No. 42 PVM Racing WR1000. He qualified third in class in the weekend’s first event at Road Atlanta but passed another teammate Eric Vassian for a second-place. In race two, Garrett started behind Vassian but got by him and finished in the runner-up position.

1L1Jonathan GoringElan DP-0223-
2L1Matt DownsElan DP-0223-
3L1Joel FeinbergElan DP-0223-
4L1Jon BrownsonElan DP-0223-
5L1Lucas DownsElan DP-0223-
6L1Jonathan GoreElan DP-0223-
7L1Gary GibsonElan DP-0223-
8L1Jarrett BoonElan DP-0223-
9L1Richard FantElan DP-0223-
10L1Anthony NicolosiElan DP-0223-
11L1Dan WeylandElan DP-0222-
12L1Richard BerryElan DP-0222-
13L2Tom DrewerWest WR100022-
14L1Tommy ThompsonElan DP-0222-
15L1Don YountElan DP-0221-
16L2Jim GarrettWest WR100020-
17L3Chris DoyleVan Diemen DP-0620-
18L1Charlie ShearsElan DP-0217Did Not Finish
19L1Johnny Meriggi(Elan DP-0216Did Not Finish
20L2Eric VassianWest WR100012Did Not Finish
21L3Wayne DucoteElan DP-028Did Not Finish

1L1Jonathan GoringElan DP-0220-
2L1Jonathan GoreElan DP-0220-
3L1Lucas DownsElan DP-0220-
4L1Matt DownsElan DP-0220-
5L1Johnny Meriggi(Elan DP-0220-
6L1Gary GibsonElan DP-0220-
7L1Charlie ShearsElan DP-0220-
8L1Anthony NicolosiElan DP-0220-
9L2Tom DrewerWest WR100020-
10L3Wayne DucoteElan DP-0220-
11L1Richard FantElan DP-0220-
12L1Richard BerryElan DP-0220-
13L1Jarrett BoonElan DP-0219-
14L2Jim GarrettWest WR100019-
15L1Don YountElan DP-0218Did Not Finish
16L1Jon BrownsonElan DP-0217Did Not Finish
17L3Chris DoyleVan Diemen DP-0615Did Not Finish
18L1Joel FeinbergElan DP-029Did Not Finish
19L2Eric VassianWest WR10008Did Not Finish
20L1Dan WeylandElan DP-023Did Not Finish
21L1Tommy ThompsonElan DP-02-Did Not Start

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