Yesterday we brought you word that the Grand Am and American Le Mans Series (ALMS) would likely be announcing a merger
in the very near future, and today it’s official: as of 2014, the two sports car racing series will unify under one common banner.
Details, such as the name of the combined series and the exact classes that will be carried forward, remain under development. The 2014 season will open with the running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, but beyond that the number of races (and specific venues) remains under discussion.
It’s safe to assume that key events from both series will be carried over, and there’s even talk about allowing teams to miss one race without a points penalty, giving them the opportunity to race at Le Mans. Both sides agree that a relationship with Le Mans is essential to the series’ success.
Technical regulations for the new series will be jointly developed, but with a nod towards existing FIA and ACO (the governing body for the 24 Hours of Le Mans) regulations. It seems clear that the series will open the door for more international teams, and it sounds like new technologies (such as the Delta Wing racer
and hybrid race cars
) will be embraced.
It’s worth pointing out that the two series initially discussed a merger some five years back, but both agreed that the timing wasn’t right for a unified championship. It speaks volumes that the current deal was sealed with a handshake on a golf course, and it was readily apparent from the news conference that both series now welcome and embrace unification.
As for the 2013 season, it’s business as usual for both Grand Am and ALMS. We sincerely hope that the mood remains as upbeat as it was today, as both series work to develop common ground to ensure the continuation of sports car endurance racing in North America.