Both series deny any knowledge of merger-related discussions, but Speed TV cites confirmation through “multiple sources” in its story on the marriage of ALMS and Grand Am. Such a merger makes sense for manufacturers, teams and fans, and in these days of shrinking motorsports budgets may be necessary to ensure the longevity of the sport.
Founded by Don Panoz in 1999, the ALMS embraced the rule set established by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the governing body for the 24 Hours Of Le Mans. The series brought international teams to U.S. soil, giving fans the chance to see cars like Audi’s legendary R8 Le Mans Prototype run at circuits like Sebring and Road Atlanta.
Grand Am, founded in 2000, can trace its roots back to the U.S. Road Racing Championship, founded by the SCCA in 1962. Now owned by NASCAR Holdings, Grand Am’s biggest race is the annual Rolex 24 at Daytona.
While details are scarce, Speed TV believes that Grand Am will serve as the sanctioning body for the new series, which will likely blend classes from the two venues (at least in the beginning, giving teams time to adapt to class consolidation). It’s too late for unification in 2013, so look for the debut of the new series in 2014.
We’ll bring you updated coverage as it happens (or if it happens) on Wednesday, September 5.