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GRAND-AM, American Le Mans Series merge

GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series are to merge, in what the two series are calling "the most significant development in the history of sports car racing in North America."
GRAND-AM is to merge with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), it was announced at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday morning.

“Today's announcement will transform sports car racing on this continent," said Ed Bennett, the president and CEO of GRAND-AM. “This new approach is going to be revolutionary, as we take the best components from two premium brands, combine them and then benefit mutually from the considerable resources both sides will bring to our efforts.

"This is a bold move – and the right one – for the long-term, optimum growth of sports car racing.” he said.

As well as merging the two series, the announcement also revealed that the deal included a transfer to GRAND-AM of the running of the Road Atlanta circuit and Sebring International Raceway, among other property and business assets.

“This merger will blend the best assets and attributes of each organization in terms of technical rules, officiating, marketing, communications, personnel, scheduling and broadcasting," said Scott Atherton, the president and CEO of ALMS. "The result will be one of the strongest, most competitive and powerful motorsports marketing platforms in the world."

There will be no immediate change to the two series in 2013, with integration under one brand following in 2014.

The board of directors of the new organisation will be chaired by Jim France, the son of NASCAR founder co-founder William Henry Getty France, with NASCAR already owning the GRAND-AM Series. The vice-chairman will be ALMS founder Don Panoz. ALMS started in 1999 basted on the template of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and GRAND-AM had followed the next year with the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona event.

“This merger will strengthen professional sports car racing beyond what either of our organizations could have achieved separately,” explained Panoz. “ALMS was founded for the fans and I'm personally gratified that they will benefit greatly as we now work together with GRAND-AM to take this sport to the level at which it belongs in the North American and international motorsports landscapes.”

GRAND-AM's marques include the Rolex Sports Car Series, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the TOTAL Performance Showcase, as well as the Ferrari Challenge that is operated by Ferrari North America. The ALMS sanctioning body is the International Motor Sports Association.

The announcement of the merger was warmly received across US motorsports circles.

"This is an epic moment for sports car racing in America," said the director of Ford Racing, Jamie Allison. "The opportunity to take the best of ALMS and GRAND-AM and create a strong, unified professional road racing series is what the fans have wanted, the teams have wanted, and the manufacturers have wanted for many years.

"We at Ford congratulate the GRAND-AM and ALMS leadership and all those involved in helping put the merger together for the good of the sport," he said. "The new, unified approach has a lot of appeal to Ford due to the potential international alignment [as] we are a global auto manufacturer."




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Action. VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 at Road America. Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Starworks Motorsport BMW/Riley duo Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer celebrate their first Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Road America [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Matt Bell, drivers of the # 9 Camaro GS.R, race to second place Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, co-drivers of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates TELMEX/Target Ford BMW Riley celebrate their win in victory lane at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Michael Valiante/Joh Pew - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Oswaldo Negri/Mark Patterson - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Ricardo Zonta/Nic Jonsson - Krohn Racing Lola-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]

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RSS - Unregistered

September 05, 2012 8:07 PM

"The announcement of the merger was warmly received across US motorsports circles." What circles NASCRAP? This is pretty much the end of quality Motorsports in NA as all are now garbage series IRL,NASCRAP and Grand-Am. It's sad that all the good racing series could never put it together money wise. Meanwhile the trailer trash series live on backed by the France and Hulman families. Hopefully the Rand run open wheel series will grow and give us something to watch in the future.

RSS - Unregistered

September 06, 2012 4:19 PM

(Cont) 5) Show sponsors the amount of rednecks you have watching with questionable decision making skills 6) Sign up all sponsors wanting to sell crap to people who probably cant even afford it 7) PROFIT!!!!! notice how none of those steps had anything to do with good racing.



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