Champ Car and IMSA talking UPDATE #3 Chatted with IMSA's COO Tim Mayer here in Montreal. He tells us Champ Car at Sebring just didn't make sense but we are still talking, which was evident by the fact he was in Montreal and looked like he was there for a meeting. Mark C. 07/05/05 More evidence that the ALMS/Champ Car rumors might be true with this article on Champ Car's website. [Excerpts] While watching Monday's American LeMans race at Lime Rock, a few obvious things came to mind:
1). ALMS needs more cars and fans.
2). So does Champ Car.
3.) They would be good for each other.
4.) Especially on July 4th.
As it stands today, Champ Car officials are working on running as many as a half dozen doubleheaders with ALMS in 2006.
First off, ALMS needs more fans, more exposure and more races than the 12 they've got scheduled in 2005.
Some of the ALMS shows I've watched on television, like at Road Atlanta and Mid-Ohio, have decent crowds considering there are two sports cars series to chose from. That's why a weekend with Champ Car, ALMS, the Formula Atlantic series and the vintage Formula One cars could be such a winner.
There are plenty of road racing fans in this country, some dormant because of the open wheel split and others maybe not willing to drive long distances just to see one main event.
Giving those folks a diverse and packed program at a reasonable price just might bring back the crowds who used to pack Elkhart Lake, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca for the heydays of Can-Am and CART. And who's to say that, given the opportunity, Paul Tracy or Sebastien Bourdais or Jimmy Vasser wouldn't do double duty on these weekends?
Champ Car, which honestly needs about four more full-timers, might be able to cultivate some new teams out of the ALMS paddock in time and it could also be a chance for a talented sports car racer to catch the eye of a Champ Car owner.
With no races in Florida at the moment, Champ Car could open its season at Sebring with the 12-Hour enduro that always draws more than 150,000. Another natural match would be Long Beach, where ALMS would get a couple days of excellent exposure for its sponsors and Champ Car would provide its loyal fans more bang for the buck.
More importantly, they could team up and fill voids in their schedules.
NASCAR always runs Daytona on Saturday of the July 4th weekend, while the Indy Racing League usually goes on Sunday so Monday would have been a perfect time for Champ Car to be on television (not at Lime Rock naturally but someplace).
ALMS currently stops at former CART strongholds like Road America and Laguna Seca, which have been dropped from Champ Car's schedule due to dwindling attendance. But if properly promoted and packed with ALMS, they could be resurrected. Plus, ALMS joining Champ Car at Cleveland would also be a hit.06/26/05 AutoRacing1.com heard today that two possible joint races are under consideration, though no specifics were given. Makes sense for the ALMS to let Champ Car in on their premier event (Sebring) if Champ Car does likewise for ALMS at Long Beach. Recall the IRL proposal to the city of Long Beach was a joint event with Grand-Am. Perhaps Champ Car will propose a similar arrangement, but with ALMS. Champ Car also has a relationship with Grand-Am as they will run a joint event at Mexico City. Recall also ALMS's interest in Beijing. In fact when the rumors started about Beijing on these pages, recall that the ALMS actually sent a car over there to put on a display. 06/24/05 Spotted IMSA's Tim Mayer in the Champ Car business unit again. Rumor has it that Champ Car and ALMS may do something again. A 12 Hours of Sebring doubleheader perhaps as well as a Long Beach doubleheader?