Saturday, March 16, 2013

"The Reveal"

John Marine | 3/16/2013 11:55:00 AM | |
The American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Road Racing Association have announced a merger back around August 2012. At the Chateau Elan hotel at Sebring International Raceway, and in an event called "The Reveal," a host of individuals representing both the ALMS and Grand-Am and many journalists all converged for this big announcement uniting both the ALMS and the Grand-Am as one unified series. This unification for the ALMS and Grand-Am is almost as impactful as the unification of the IndyCar Series and the former Champ Car World Series. This blog post is a brief one regarding my thoughts on this sportscar racing merger.

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--- "The Reveal" ---

Before I begin, let me share this from Twitter (because I'm too lazy to find this elsewhere or put into my own photo album):
United SportsCar Racing
^ from: - United SportsCar Racing- the new unified series of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am. Get to know it.

The American Le Mans Series and Grand-American Road Racing Association will merge under the name "United SportsCar Racing." It will merge two of the biggest sportscar racing series in the United States into one super series. SME Branding- one of the premier branding agencies in the United States- is the firm behind the branding of the USCR. The name for this unified series, however, was chosen in a contest called "Name the Future," where fans were given the opportunity to name the new series. Over 70K people and entrants and entries have been submitted in naming the new series. The winning entrant was from Louis Satterlee- the 2011 Florida Karting Championship Rookie of the Year.

IMSA (International Motor Sport Association) will be the sanctioning body behind the new USCR. Its logo was updated to represent the new changes and the evolution of this sanctioning body, that has been around since 1969.

United SportsCar Racing Scheduling Issues.

The United SportsCar Racing series will be the evolution and progression of sportscar racing in North America. One of the issues is in scheduling. The best thing about the USCR and its schedule is that it would bring prestige to some of the venues and races- especially from the Grand-Am side. Sebring is still a big deal as is Petit Le Mans. However, Daytona and Watkins Glen will be more of a big deal in this modern era of sportscar racing with the USCR involvement. The key venues to me today are the following: Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Indianapolis, Circuit of the Americas, Laguna Seca, and Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans). So in the scheduling scheme, at least seven venues HAVE to be there. But in addition, you have to service specific business markets. Business markets even include Canada. Once in Grand-Am, they used to race in Mexico City at Mexico's Autodromo de los Hermanos Rodriguez- once the home of the Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix. I'm pretty sure the series will have either Toronto or Montreal in mind on the Canadian side. So respectively, you're looking at Mosport returning or even Mosport and Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve. Lime Rock Park is a key market since it represents the greater New York City and Boston area.

The question then is, how do you schedule the dates? And also... what about teams who want to go to France to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June? You don't want to schedule some race and not allow the teams enough time to prepare everything to go overseas to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So you need that break in the schedule to allow teams to compete at Le Mans in addition to all of the big races here in North America.

Class Structure.

A series of five classes will set up this series for the future. Here are the five classes of competition for the USCR:

• Prototype (Daytona Prototype, ALMS P2, and DeltaWing)
This class consists of the fastest-possible racing machines. It consists of the Daytona Prototypes of the Grand-Am series, the ALMS Prototype-2 class, and DeltaWing. DeltaWing is an Indianapolis, IN, USA-based company designing the very unique Nissan-powered prototype. You either love the DeltaWing or hate it. Personally, I wish people would stop hating on the DeltaWing. Okay- so it looks like a land missile, but it can still race and still is an important evolution of prototype racing. The LMP1 class will be done away with entirely, making the Daytona Prototypes perhaps the premier class of racing in the new USCR.

• PROTOTYPE C (ALMS Prototype Challenge)
The American Le Mans Series introduced the LMPC class as an entry-level series for prototype racing.

• GT LE MANS (GTLM): (ALMS GT Evolution)
The highest form of production-based racing machines are in the GTLM class. Here are some of the most powerful production-based racing machines racing in anger.

GTD will combine the GT cars of Grand-Am and the GT Challenge series of the American Le Mans Series. These are capable racing machines that comprise mostly the Grand-Am's GT machines. Also included in the class are the various GT Challenge cars from the American Le Mans Series. Like with the Prototype Challenge class, the GT Challenge class is like the entry-level GT class of racing.

• GX - Grand-Am GX
In the GX Class, this is a class focused entirely on cars with alternative technologies. These are cars disqualified for GT class entry and are either unmodified or vastly modified versions of certain racing machines. One such example of a GX-class car is the diesel-powered Mazda Mazda6 Sedans that race in this class.

These are just my thoughts on the whole USCR situation. Up now is a look at things pre-merger between the ALMS and Grand-Am.

--- The ALMS and Grand-Am: Pre-Merger ---

One of the preoccupations regarding the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-American Road Racing Association is that these are two different brands of sportscar racing. You liked one or the other. The American Le Mans Series was always predicated as bringing European-style sportscar racing stateside. That's why I enjoyed the American Le Mans Series for what it was. What served as a deterrent for me was when the American Le Mans Series went from Speed Channel to ESPN/ABC with mostly Internet feeds and such (not to mention highlight packages for TV).

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Grand-Am. Grand-Am established its own identity starting with the Daytona Prototypes in 2003. Grand-Am had more of a (for lack of a better term) more NASCAR approach to sportscar racing with hard-fought racing and intense finishes. Even as an ALMS fan, I still watched Grand-Am because I am a sportscar racing fan. I didn't follow Grand-Am religiously, but I do follow.

So one of the thoughts about this merger was that it was tough to try to be a fan of both series at once. Either that, or it was tough for two different big time sportscar racing series to compete at the same time. I never stopped caring about either series. Both series are now under the United SportsCar Racing banner.

--- My Thoughts on the USCR ---

United SportsCar Racing will surely extend the history of racing in North America. I think this will bring prestige and important internationally regarding certain tracks- especially Daytona and Watkins Glen. It would bring back prestige and value to the Six Hours at the Glen. Other tracks could include the likes of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Circuit of the Americas.

I'm actually okay with the name. I like the logo, though I would have liked something a bit more consistent in sportscar racing, like the prototype logo in the ALMS. I'm otherwise okay with everything. All I know is that I can't wait for the 2014 season even though the 2013 racing is still ongoing!

For More Details...

For more details on the USCR and all the individual elements of it, check out their official site at

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John Marine said...

Great one.

Wish you a wonderful day!

Lots of love,


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