Monday, September 3, 2012
Grand-Am and ALMS.
Grand-Am, and American LeMans Series Merger? There was talk this weekend of a merger between ALMS & Grand-Am. This could either be very good for Motorsports in the US, or very bad. The GT Class Cars and Teams can make the changes needed to keep racing easy enough. If the Grand-Am Race/Competition Director (Mark R.) and Tech Teams (the best in Motorsports) can put together a rules package so all the Teams could make the changes needed to Race at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and at the Sebring 12 Hour Race and still put on a Petit LeMans in the Fall at Road Atlanta the Racing World could be a very happy place. Running the. “Grand American LeMans Series” on standalone dates, as well as with some selected IZOD Indy Car weekends at say, Road America, Sonoma, Long Beach, Barber, Miller, Baltimore, Detroit, and Road Atlanta would be great for the Teams and Fans alike. Might even be a good time to turn on the Road Course at LVMS again or stage an event in Arizona at whatever track replaces Firebird after the final NHRA event is held there next year. And while the Indy Cars haven’t been to Road Atlanta in any recent history, the Panoz Family did spend a lot of money making the track compliant with ACO, FIA specifications over the years, (but I sure miss “The Dip”). So if you can have F-1 Races in Long Beach, Watkins Glen, (Phoenix-yuck), a parking lot in Las Vegas and Indy, why not Indy Cars at Road Atlanta? Welcome to the birth of the Grand American LeMans Series. (GALS). Would calling it this get more females to watch and/or race? The biggest challenge as I see it will be dealing with the Tire Wars, (sponsorship contracts). Michelin, Dunlop, Falken, and Yokohama all get their day in the Sun (and sometimes night) in the ALMS Classes. Continental is on Grand-Am cars, and Pirelli is on SCCA World Challenge cars. After all isn’t Competition what Real Racing is all about? Could we keep them all? Back in the day, Teams could make tire deals and run what they thought worked best. Then the era of the spec tire came to the US. Now Teams that have cars that don’t work well with a particular brand or compound of tire have to work extra hard to make their cars work on whatever tire the sanctioning body gave the contract to. And while I agree Spec tires work well for NASCAR Stock Cars, Spec Chassis Indy Cars as well as entry level Kart Racing. Imagine the freedom of being able to pick the tires, sponsorship, and compound for Teams in Professional Road Racing? WOW! My only hope is if Don Panoz sells his tracks one day, SMI buys them, as that would be Heaven. Dicken Wear, Editor-in-Chief “The Motorsports Report”