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Classes set for American merger
5 January 2013
Details have been revealed on the class structure for the new series that will be created by the merger of the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Series next year.
A press conference held at Daytona ahead of the currently ongoing 'Roar before the Rolex 24' test session revealed the structures that will be in place for the 2014 and 2015 seasons; which will include the majority of classes currently in place in the two series'.
One exception will be the LMP1 class from the ALMS, which won't feature in the combined championship.
Instead, the headline class will feature LMP2 machinery from the ALMS alongside Grand-Am's Daytona Prototype machines and the revolutionary DeltaWing, with performance balancing in place to ensure close competition.
The current ALMS LMPC class will then run as a second class for prototype machinery.
The GT class from both championships will be retained as two separate classes, with GTC cars from the ALMS being placed into the class with the Grand-Am GT machinery while the new GX class that will debut in Grand-Am this season this year could be added to the Grand-Am GT class or added as a fifth standalone class.
Full specifications for each of the classes will be announced later in the year.
“This is a 'best of both worlds' approach that reflects the fact we have a true merger evolving on a daily basis,” Grand-Am Managing Director of Competition Richard Buck said. “This announcement is only a first step in solidifying our class structure. Our organisations' respective competition departments are working diligently on balance of performance for the top prototype class, plus overall class specifications across the board.
“This process is not being rushed. We are carefully gathering input from drivers, teams and stakeholders throughout the sports car industry, emphasising inclusion, as we work toward a simple – but also complex – goal: we want to get it right the first time.”
ALMS Chief Operating Officer Scot Elkins also welcomed the announcement that was made.
“Numerous important partners and stakeholders have been invaluable during this process,” he said. “We could not have reached these decisions as rapidly as we did without that assistance. Many factors were taken into consideration for this initial conceptual line-up, but the priority was to enable as many current competitors as possible to continue racing with their existing equipment.
“We also want to thank the Automobile Club de l'Ouest for its input as we strive to maintain the important ability of teams to qualify for and race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
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