Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ALMS and Grand Am merge - finally

Although this is old news by now, nevertheless it’s significant and seemingly was overlooked during all of the hypefest surrounding the B-I-G IndyCar season finale at Fontana...

As I first heard of it when reading Gordon Kirby’s latest piece on the Delta Wing Sports Car being set to compete in this year’s upcoming Petit Lemans at Road Atlanta. Then I found it strange that the top article upon thee ‘Interwoods was from Business News... As Don Panoz, the founder of the American Le Mans Series and the France family, owners of the rival Grand Am series have finally agreed to mergification in 2014.

Thus it seems somewhat ironic that I’d previously watched Derek Bell on Wind Tunnel explaining how in his mind Sports Cars would never be able to go forward until it was a single unified series...

As it seems like Porsche musta knew ‘Somme-thun? Or just clever enough to await the ACO’s new for 2014 Le Mans rules before making its intended Sports Cars comeback; which now could potentially be spearheaded by The Captain?

Thus, it’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out, since I find the ALMS machinery far more technically advanced over the Daytona Prototype’s platforms, not to mention that the ALMS features four distinct categories vs. Grand Am’s current two, i.e.; DP & GT, although there’s reportedly a new GX class being unveiled next year for experimental machinery... Perhaps this is akin to the “Project 56” entry spot upon le Circuit de Sarthe? Although I’m assuming it’s an actual racing category. Or perhaps is a response to the American Le Mans Series Green challenge; which I learned a great new word ‘bout Up North Eh! Where Pamela called it ‘green-WASHING!

And I’m interested in how this will align with the ACO & FIA’s World Endurance Series (WEC) which a la the Rolex 24 at Daytona being Grand Am’s signature event; and Mobil 1’s 12hrs of Sebring being the ALMS’s respectively; while Le Mans, arguably the top ‘Kuhuna ‘O endurance racing is Europe’s Superbowl for Sports Cars.

Thus, could we finally see a return of truly international racing by featuring all three of these events in one championship? As Le Mans and Sebring are already part of the WEC’s inaugural season this year.

Then if this linkage can be made, all we’ll need for truly epic Sports Cars competition is for la Scuderia (Ferrari) to join Porsche in the 2014 endurance renaissance; although both are firmly ensconced in the GT Categories, and Porsche powered DP’s have raced, even winning the rolex 24 overall in 2009... Both manufacturers don’t currently have their own prototypes available, as Ferrari’s last BIG car was the 333SP.

Yet I’m presuming the new racing series will stick with closed top coupes, which is also mandated for Le Mans top LMP1 category in 2014...