American Le Mans SeriesContinental TiresGrand-Am

ALMS/Grand-Am Merger: Reaction

5 Mins read

With the sportscar world still adjusting to the news of the merger between Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) the immediate reaction has been overwhelmingly positive from both sides of the divide that will be bridged in 2014.


Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO);
“The merger of these two championships, which was carried out with the approval of the ACO, has become necessary to enable endurance racing to continue to evolve. In 2014, this branch of the sport will have a bigger calendar and high-quality fields. Everybody will benefit from this unified series: entrants in North America, drivers and fans. This rapprochement proves that ACO assessment of the situation is the right one, and one of its major initiatives is to reinforce the presence of endurance racing on the international scene. The foundation consists of three continental series: the European Le Mans Series, the Asian Le Mans Series and this North-American merger in 2014, which will make the base even stronger together with the FIA World Endurance Championship, while the summit of this pyramid remains the Le Mans 24 Hours. I’m happy to meet up with the new team directing this new series in the near future, and to start working with them on this North-American Championship.”

Mike Shank, team principal of Rolex Series team Michael Shank Racing;
“This is an incredible development, and my hat is off to Jim France and Don Panoz for coming together to create a single sports car racing organization here in North America. I can not tell you how excited I am not only for my organization, but for the sport in general. Obviously, there are a lot of questions to be answered about the schedule, the equipment, and the technical regulations. As a team owner, these are very important questions to be resolved. But there is always work to be done in racing, and just knowing that this sport is positioned for the future gives us a very positive outlook as we move forward.”

Greg Pickett, team owner of ALMS team Muscle Milk Pickett Racing;
“I was telling my team this week that I don’t like change, no one does, but the change that is coming in North American sports car racing is one that I’m looking forward to. The environment in which we have been racing over the last few years, while highly competitive, has not been perfect, but this coming together of the ALMS and GRAND-AM has the potential to bring sports car racing to a whole new level in this country. However, change isn’t always easy and there is still plenty of work that needs to be done to take this unified series to where it needs to be and to ensure the strong and continued growth of our sport. A sport known for its technological advancement, world-class racing and exciting looking and sounding racecars. Racecars that are fun to watch, cool to drive and great to own.”

Mark Reuss, GM North America president, with works programs in both series;
“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.”

Joie Chitwood III, president of Daytona International Speedway, home of the Rolex 24;
“This is a very special day for the sport and an incredibly exciting time as we look ahead. I applaud the leadership of both organizations for this bold move that ultimately benefits the great fans of sports car racing in the North America.  I am especially pleased to have Daytona International Speedway host the 2014 Rolex 24 – the first unified race of this new sports car series.”

Chris Dyson, driver, VP and sporting director for LMP1 team 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.”

Bryan Sellers, driver for GT outfit Team Falken Tire in the ALMS;
“As a driver, you always want an opportunity to race in the very best car, in the very best series and on the very best tracks. While there are still a lot of questions to answer over the next year, I think we might have just heard today the start of that. Like everyone involved, I am full of nervous anticipation of what the future holds. However, I do hope, and believe, that the leaders of both organizations have put us on the path to a stronger future. A path that will see a lot of growth potential and put endurance sports car racing in front of an even greater audience.”

Bob Stallings, team principal of Daytona Prototype team GAINSCO Racing;
“First of all, I cannot imagine a better set of circumstances for road racing in America. I cannot imagine a more exciting set of facts coming together that will influence the future of racing in America in the segment I love, which is sports car racing. The fact that these two organizations are finally going to be coming together, keeping the best leadership from both groups, and going through more than a year of sorting things out and doing their appropriate planning for 2014, suggests to me that year will be at least the most exciting road racing that I have seen since I have been in the business. I just really couldn’t be more pleased and more happy and, frankly, more optimistic about the future of road racing in America. I had a great opportunity to spend an hour on the phone with Jim France yesterday morning and he kind of walked me through his vision for this exciting new venture, how he expects it to all play out, and clearly he is very enthusiastic, as he always is. It all reinforces for me that there is some awfully exciting things coming down the road in North American road racing.”

Art St. Cyr, HPD president, represented by LMP1 and LMP2 cars in the ALMS;
“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.”

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The Checkered Flag was set up in August 2009 and is dedicated to providing independent daily news and features from around the world of motorsport.
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