Some details on the ALMS/Grand-AM merger Peter DeLorenzo from Autoextremist writes, I'll get straight to the point here. I spoke with Don Panoz, the founder of the American Le Mans Series on Monday and he asked me to keep the details of the Grand-Am/ALMS coming together "off the record" until tomorrow's announcement. But since John Dagys has decided to break cover on some of the details tonight (speedtv.com), I can tell you this about the arrangement between Grand-Am and the ALMS.
1. The Panoz Motor Sports Group (ALMS) has been sold to GRAND-AM/NASCAR Holdings LLC. The number? Reportedly around $20 million. It also includes the sale of Road Atlanta and a long-term lease of Sebring International Raceway. A new LLC will be formed going forward for the unified sports car racing entity in the U.S.
2. Jim France (GRAND-AM co-founder and NASCAR Vice Chairman/Executive Vice President) will be the Chairman of the unified series, which does not have an official name as of yet. ALMS founder Don Panoz will be Vice Chairman. And ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton will be President of the new organization. Both Panoz and Atherton are likely to be on the board of directors.
3. The LMP1 class from the ALMS will no longer be a part of the new series. The ALMS LMP2 class will survive, along with the GRAND-AM's Daytona Prototype class. The DeltaWing will also be a part of this new class as well. The new racing series will equalize those three classes. (Uh, good luck with that.) I'm sorry to report that the Rolex GT class will hang around, but it will come in below the ALMS GT class, which will be retained, intact (thank goodness). A testing program will be undertaken to sort all of these performance adjustments out.
4. There will be a 12-race schedule, with a kick-off being the Daytona 24 Hour followed by the 12 Hours of Sebring, returning major league American sports car racing to its rightful rhythm. The rest of the schedule will be announced tomorrow. Teams will discard points from one of the 12 races. This will allow a team to drop a bad performance, but it will also allow a team to participate at Le Mans if invited.
5. The new road racing entity will kick-off with the 2014 season, as commitments were well in place for 2013 and could not be altered. The two series will operate separately for one more year.
6. There is no official connection to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) after the 2013 season. More at Autoextremist.com
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