Calling it a philisophy based on inclusion, Grand-AM and the American Le Mans Series announced the new class structures that will take effect when the two organizations merge into one in 2014. The announcement came on Friday prior to the start of Grand-AM’s “Roar Before the 24″ test weekend at the Daytona International Speedway.
The merged series will have four classes with the possibility of a fifth class being added. The ALMS LMP1 prototype class is being eliminated while the LMP2 class will combine with Grand-AM’s Daytona Prototypes. The GT classes from each series will be carried over but will remain distinct from each other. The ALMS GT Challenge (GTC) class will merge with the Grand-AM GT class. The ALMS Prototype Challenge class (LMPC) will continue to run as a separate class. Grand-AM’s new GX class which debuts this month at Daytona is being considered for their own class or it may join the Grand-AM GT class in 2014 or 2015.
The new classes will be in effect for at least the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The new series, which has yet to be named, has also announced the first unified Grand-AM/ALMS race will take place at Daytona International Speedway in January 2014.
“This is a ‘best of both worlds’ approach that reflects the fact we have a true merger evolving on a daily basis,” said Grand-Am managing director of competition Richard Buck. “And this announcement is only a first step in solidifying our class structure. Our organizations’ respective competition departments are working diligently on balance of performance for the top prototype class, plus overall class specifications across the board.
“This process is not being rushed. We are carefully gathering input from drivers, teams and stakeholders throughout the sports-car industry, emphasizing inclusion, as we work toward a simple – but also complex – goal: We want to get it right the first time.”
Added International Motor Sports Association and ALMS chief operating officer Scot Elkins, “Numerous important partners and stakeholders have been invaluable during this process. We could not have reached these decisions as rapidly as we did without that assistance. Many factors were taken into consideration for this initial conceptual lineup, but the priority was to enable as many current competitors as possible to continue racing with their existing equipment.
“We also want to thank the Automobile Club de l’Ouest [the organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans] for its input as we strive to maintain the important ability of teams to qualify for and race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Image Credit: Autoweek
The new unified series will feature Corvettes racing in different classes for the first time with the Grand-AM Corvette Daytona Prototypes racing against the LMP2s while Corvette Racing’s factory-backed GT program will continue to battle Porsche, BMW and Ferrari in what many consider to be the best racing class in North America.
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