ALMS to team with IndyCar in Baltimore, but Oklahoma says no UPDATE #5 Even though the Oklahoma City council on Tuesday rejected a proposal to bring the American Le Mans Series to town in 2011, professional racing could still hit its streets in 2012.
That's the view of OKC Motorsports CEO Mike McAuliffe, who told www.newsok.com on Tuesday night that his group is holding additional talks to bring some form of motorsports to Oklahoma City--but with funds from private investors and not taxpayers, as OKC Grand Prix LLC proposed on Tuesday.
"I just want people around here to know the potential of racing is not dead because of the action that [the city council took on Tuesday],” McAuliffe told the Web site.
While he did not provide further details, including which series he was targeting, McAuliffe said he is deep into discussions with that series, sponsors and investors.09/01/10 The Oklahoma City Council has rejected a plan that would have committed $7 million in city money to land an ALMS race. The council voted 6-2 against the proposal Tuesday. Opponents said they did not feel comfortable committing the money in the current economic climate. The proposal by Oklahoma City Grand Prix LLC called for an American Le Mans Series race during the Fourth of July weekend next year. The money was to be repaid by the group over a 10-year period. Businessman Trent Ward helped lead the effort to secure the funding. After the vote, he said the opportunity to host such a race probably won't come again. [Editor's Note: A race in Oklahoma City on July 4th? It would have been so hot the fans would NEVER come back. What were they thinking?]
09/01/10 Here is the official press release confirming this rumor to be true with regard to Baltimore. However, the American Le Mans Series will not hold a race on the streets of Oklahoma City in 2011. The Oklahoma City council voted against the proposal on Tuesday, citing the poor economy. The council voted 6-2 against the plan.
Trent Ward, who along with Brad Lund is a director of Oklahoma City Grand Prix LLC, said after the vote that he and his group probably will not continue to pursue the issue.
08/27/10 ALMS — the American Le Mans Series — will join the IndyCar Series for races on downtown streets over Labor Day weekend 2011.
While an official announcement is expected at a news conference Wednesday that will be attended by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and officials from Baltimore Racing Development, a spokesman for ALMS confirmed that the Oklahoma-based racing organization will be bringing its 34 teams to Baltimore.
While not saying whether a contract had been signed, Bob Dickinson said, "I doubt we'd be up there (for the press conference) if we didn't have a race planned."
It will mark the first time since a ALMS race was held in Washington in 2002 that big-time professional racing comes to the region.
The ALMS race will be held on the Saturday before Labor Day, with the IndyCar race on Sunday. IndyCar practices will be held along with ALMS time trials on Friday. The IndyCar time trials will be held Saturday before the ALMS race.
Dickinson said that the American Le Mans Series, which began in 1999, has one race, in Sebring, Fla. that is similar to the legendary 24-hour race in Le Mans, France, and other races last as long as 10 hours or 1000 miles, but that races in the series are typically two hours and 45 minutes.
Baltimore Racing promoters have declined to comment further about the races until the official announcement next week.
Dickerson said that the 34 racing teams encompass four separate racing classes, meaning that the cars are capable of going at different speeds. As a result, Dickinson said "there's lots passing." The courses are typically two to three miles.
The ALMS racing is the first series to be approved by the EPA and given green status. The ALMS cars use five different types of alternative fuels and energy sources. Baltimore Sun08/25/10 This rumor is close to being upgraded to 'fact' once the ALMS confirms the TBA listed on September 3rd on their recently released 2011 calendar as Baltimore.
08/05/10 New street circuits in Baltimore and Oklahoma City are set to join the American Le Mans Series calendar next year.
Series bosses are known to be in talks with the IRL over joining its event on the streets of Maryland’s largest city with IndyCar in early August, 2011, while officials in Oklahoma revealed back in March that they too were speaking to the ALMS.
This week’s AUTOSPORT magazine reports that both venues are close to concluding deals to host the ALMS in 2011, with series boss Scott Atherton also confirming that discussions had taken place.
Baltimore is expected to replace the tight, 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park as the event in the US north east - a key market for the series’ manufacturers - following criticism of the Connecticut circuit.
Oklahoma would likely take the Independence Day weekend date at the beginning of July.