Following last year’s announcement that the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Series would merge for the 2014 season, two primary questions arose: who would be the sanctioning body, and what would the new series be called?
In an effort to connect with those close to the sport, fans were encouraged to submit suggested names for the new, merged series. The winning name, United SportsCar Racing, was submitted by Louis Satterlee, a kart racer and passionate motorsport fan from Florida.
IMSA, the International Motor Sports Association, will assume responsibility as the sanctioning body, which comes as no surprise given IMSA’s ties to both NASCAR and to the American Le Mans Series.
Though no announcement has been made about United SportsCar Racing’s links to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO - the governing body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans), the ACO has worked with the ALMS and IMSA since 1999. In other words, it bodes well for the ability of United SportsCar Racing teams to race at Le Mans.
United SportsCar Racing classes
On the production side, the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class will be for ALMS GTE entrants, while the GT Daytona (GTD) class will consist of both Grand-Am GT and ALMS GTC entrants. Finally, the GX class, introduced for the 2013 Grand-Am season, will carry over into 2014.
Can the merged series prosper where two competing series struggled? Is the name and the helmet logo evocative enough to attract new fans to the sport? Will there be enough room and enough funding for teams from both current series to compete in 2014?
The answers to these and other questions won’t be known until well after the green flag waves for the season-opening 24 Hours of Daytona in January 2014.