1972 was the first IMSA Camel GT season. Reynolds Tobacco Inc was now the official sponsor for the series and it attracted a lot of new drivers and cars. The average entry per race was now over 40, well over the standards. Races had different formats, ranging from 200 Miles to 6 Hours, in order to even the odds for the lower displacement categories. Porsche finally won the Championship, as expected. Hurley Haywood, who had switched to a 911, won the drivers Championship with two wins and several top 6 finishes. Second was Bob Beasley, third Michael Keyser and Peter Gregg only fourth.
The season opener was held at Texas World Speedway and it was a surprise victory for a Ford Mustang driven by Juan Izquierdo and Daniel Muniz. Peter Gregg-Hurley Haywood took the second place, just ahead of another Mustang driven by Danny Moore-Gary Bishop. The TU category was won by Phil Dermer-Russ Norburn on a BMW 2002.
The 2nd race, at Daytona for the Starlight 3 Hour GT Race, was won by the Chevrolet Corvette entered by Rinzler Motor Racing for Charlie Kemp-Wilbur Pickett, 2 laps ahead of Michael Keyser-Bob Beasley on their Porsche 911, Danny Moore-Jerry Crew were 3rd in their Ford Mustang. Byron Morris took the TU honours on his BMW 2002.
The third round of the season was held at Virginia International Raceway and a huge field of 51 cars took the start. It was a complete Porsche parade as the first 5 spots were taken by the German cars. The first non-Porsche car was the Phil Currin private Chevrolet Corvette, a pilot that was to become one of the most consistant. The victory was taken by Peter Gregg-Hurley Haywood, who finished ahead of Bob Beasley-Michael Keyser similar car. Third was a Porsche 914/6 for Daniel Muniz-Fred van Beuren. Earlier in the race, the winners had to fight an early challenge by the Corvettes driven by Charlie Kemp-Wilbur Pickett and Denny Long. The two cars had to retire later in the race. The TU victory went to Carson Baird-Joe Amato on a Ford Pinto.
Lime Rock took place several weeks later in the schedule and Porsche again won the overall. It was Jim Locke-Bob Bailey who took their first IMSA victory, just ahead of Klaus Bytzek who ran solo and Phil Currin, again third in his red Corvette. The TU honors were taken by an Alfa Romeo driven by John Diamanti and Walt Siemendinger.
Donnybrooke was the 5th round of the series and it was the first ever victory in IMSA for Denny Long. He edged the Bob Beasley-Levon Pentecost Porsche 911 by 2 laps. Third again was Phil Currin, quite regular in his Corvette. Joe Amato-Carson Baird won again the TU class.
The next race was the longest of the season and held at the Mid Ohio sports car course, for a 6 Hour race. Plenty of close racing was going to be held there. It was again the Porsche 911 driven by Michael Keyser-Bob Beasley who took the victory. They finished one lap ahead of Hurley Haywood-Sam Posey similar car. But the biggest surprise of the race was to be brought by the Ford Escort entered by Libra International and driven by John Buffum-Bert Everett who finished 3rd overall, the two drivers managed to finish ahead of the two Greenwood Corvettes driven by John Greenwood-Marshall Robbins and Denny Long-Jim Greendyke. 48 cars had taken the green flag for the race, partially run under the rain.
At Talladega, Porsche took a slap in the face as the best entry could do no better than 6th(Haywood again).
Wilbur Pickett won the race, Tony de Lorenzo took 5nd and Dan Daughtry was 3rd, all of them driving Corvettes. Gene Felton was 4th in his big block Camaro, just ahead of Tom Nehl in yet another Camaro. This horsepower track did not let any chance to the low displacement engines and Haywood felt happy with his 6th. First in TU was the Opel Manta driven by Dennis Shaw and Steve Coleman.
Watkins Glen 500km was to be held on 10th september with a 54 car field. Gregg-Haywood were the winners of the race, second were Maurice Carter-Paul Nichter(of Camaro fame), they finished on the same lap as the winners. Third were Bruce Jennings-George Stone on a Porsche 911. Phil Dermer took the TU victory on his BMW 2002.
37 cars took the start of the Bryar Motorsport Park 3 Hour race, and it was won by Maurice Carter-Paul Nichter Camaro. They easily won the race by 6 laps over the Porsche 911 of George Stone, third was a Chevrolet Corvette driven by Bud Deshler-Rod Harris. Bob Beasley had finished the race on a rail and Hurley Haywood-Peter Gregg Porsche was an early retirement as well.
With one event left, the two top contenders for the title were quite close and Haywood had a slight advantage. The two drivers could win the Championship and the last race should be determining for the title. For that event, the two contenders were entered on two cars. Providing that Daytona is a horsepower track, a class win was only needed to win but it was not enough. It turned out that Beasley won his class, just ahead...Haywood who won eventually the Championship by 1.5 point!
Gene Felton won the race on his Camaro and Tony de Lorenzo was 2nd. Maurice Carter finished 3rd and Dave Heinz took 4th on the Corvette he shared with Bob Johnson, just ahead of the two winning Porsche. First again in TU was Russ Norburn in his BMW 2002. 61 cars entered the Finale, and the season ended up in a quite optimistic way.
The future looked bright with new cars to be entered for the next season.
Putting on races that will attract and hold the paying spectator is still our prime objective
John Bishop said. He had achieved his objective.