Comments on ALMS and Grand-AM merger UPDATE #3
General Motors North America President Mark Reuss:
"This is an exciting moment in sports car racing. This merger combines the best attributes of GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series to create a singularly focused series. Congratulations to Jim France and Dr. Don Panoz on having the passion for sports car racing and the vision to take it to the next level. The joining of these two series will provide a foundation for Chevrolet to develop technologies and race cars with tremendous relevance to the production vehicles we sell today and in the future."
Statement from Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development, on today's announced
merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand Am:
"In much the same way as unification provided a way forward for open-wheel racing, today's news announcing the merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am has the potential to grow and improve the sport.
Honda has participated in sports car racing, under a variety of sanctioning bodies and formats, since the mid-1980s. As a company, we have always sought out series where races and championships could be won - or lost - on engineering merit.
Since 2007, we have been continuous participants in the American Le Mans Series under both the Acura and Honda Performance Development banners. HPD is the reigning American Le Mans Series LMP champion, having won class titles for the past three years.
In 2012, HPD and its partner teams continue to take part in both LMP1 and LMP2 in the American Le Mans Series; and launched an ambitious multi-team prototype effort in the World Endurance Championship.
We look forward to taking part in a new, combined North American road-racing series, featuring a defined rules package that maintains sports car racing's traditional role as a technological leader and innovator."09/05/12 Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer
"We congratulate and celebrate this historic merger of North American sports car racing. It has created an even more exciting future for this thrilling form of motorsports, which was met with a very enthusiastic reception from our fans during the IMS debut of GRAND-AM in July."
09/05/12 Mark Reuss, President, GM North America
“This is an exciting moment in sports car racing. This merger combines the best attributes of GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series to create a singularly focused series. Congratulations to Jim France and Dr. Don Panoz on having the passion for sports car racing and the vision to take it to the next level. The joining of these two series will provide a foundation for Chevrolet to develop technologies and race cars with tremendous relevancy to the production vehicles we sell today and in the future.”09/05/12 It was announced today at Daytona Beach, FL, that GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series will merge under common ownership, uniting professional sports car racing in North America under a single platform. There will be a blending of each series' personnel, technical rules, officiating, communications, marketing, scheduling and broadcasting. GRAND-AM and the ALMS will continue to operate with separate schedules in 2013, with a combined schedule in 2014. The 2014 schedule of tracks will be based on market importance, historical significance and popularity among competitors and fans.
There will be a merging of leadership with the newly constituted Board of Directors responsible for strengthening the areas of race operations, competition, communication, marketing and sales, as they oversee both series in 2013.
The class structure from 2014 on will be determined with the input of the competitive stakeholders and will be aligned with the needs of the teams, manufactures, television and sponsors.
Talks are being held to maintain a link with the ACO and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The goal would be to retain a strong and cooperative relationship, including a close association to GT rules and involvement of the Series' teams at Le Mans.
Rob Dyson, Team Principal Dyson Racing:
"The history of sports car racing in America has centered around sophisticated performance and innovation. Dyson Racing has raced top-line prototypes for three decades and the variety of technology and competitors during that period has defined the sport and produced the memories that sustain its growth today and propel its future. We anticipate that this historic merger will produce sports car racing that embraces the diversity that has made our racing a fan favorite, with world-wide legitimacy. There are currently twelve auto and engine manufactures plus four tire manufactures in our series. We expect the newly combined series will produce an even more enhanced arena of value for manufacturers and privateers alike."
Chris Dyson, Vice President and Sporting Director Dyson Racing:
"The best mergers strengthen. This combination has the potential to be a significant milepost in the history of sports car racing and to foster a period reminiscent of our sport's glory days. The addition of GRAND-AM's historic tracks to IMSA's existing set of iconic tracks will only reinforce the appeal to fans, competitors and manufacturers. We are optimistic that with a continued emphasis on technical advancement, variety, high levels of on-track performance, close competition and a welcoming paddock atmosphere, unified sports car racing in North America is about to enter a new era - one of long term strength. There are always challenges involved with change, but Dyson Racing will continue to work with all in our sport to ensure the strongest possible future."
Bobby Rahal - Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
“As we’ve seen in Indy car racing, this is nothing but great news for the sport, for the teams and for the fans. It’s a huge win for racing in general and sports car racing in particular. I commend Jim France and Don Panoz for finding a way to come together and doing what is best for the sport. I think that with the combined schedules, the might of ISC’s marketing and the types of circuits we can focus on, it couldn’t be any better for a series. I’m very, very enthused and excited about it and looking forward to seeing it all come together.”
Alex Job, Alex Job Racing
"We have been racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and International Motorsports Association (IMSA) since our inception as a team in 1988," Job said. "We have also raced with GRAND-AM in both the Daytona Prototype and GT categories. It will be interesting to see how the philosophy of ALMS and their association with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) translates to GRAND-AM and their relationship with NASCAR. "
"Personally, I like the manufacturer involvement, technology and differing tire combinations in the ALMS. In GRAND-AM, I can appreciate the willingness to control costs and level the playing field. However, I also like the thought of competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours with the same car that I am competing with here in the United States. Endurance racers are a resilient bunch. It appears that the group in Daytona are going to give themselves 18-months to forge a sturdy business and technical plan. This has been a long time coming. I am looking forward to going to the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona in January of 2014 and then to Sebring for the 12 Hour a month-and-a-half later like the old days."