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The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is fading into the sunset after a decade and a half of high-octane competition. Starting next year it will cease to exist as it does today; it’s merging with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. But it’s not too late to stock up commemorative ALMS memorabilia.
We may not be seeing the United SportsCar Racing Series officially until next year, but those wanting to see this year’s American Le Man Series’ competition should tune into the 2013 12 Hours of Sebring.
Along with a new name being announced today for the merged Grand-Am/ALMS series, sanctioning body IMSA has announced that a total of five classes will form the makeup of the racing organization. Continue Reading…
The American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am have decided on a name for their newly-merged series, United SportsCar Racing, and will become official when the two organizations begin racing together in 2014.
With the recent debut of the Z4 GTE race car, a replacement for the M3 GT in the American Le Mans Series, BMW is now showcasing the new model in a stunning video.
When the Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off in 2014, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Grand-Am will be running under one banner for the first time in history.
One of the main concerns with the recent American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Grand-Am merger was the involvement and relationship with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which is the organizing entity behind the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That can be put to rest however, as the organizations met with one another to find a way to put it all together.
Corvette Racing capped off a very successful 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) campaign with a victory at Virginia International Raceway.
The biggest news in motorsports this weekend is not the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix or NASCAR, but reports that the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will merge shortly, combining both series under a single race banner.
Dyson Racing, reigning American Le Mans Series (ALMS) LMP1 champion team, will take possession of the first production Caterham SP/300.R over a year after it was revealed in partnership with Lola Racing.
Final assembly of the SP/300.R will take place at Dyson Racing’s facility in New York, where they are also the official U.S. distributor for Caterham Cars. The first production model will be used as the company’s demonstration cars with several more production models heading to America in a few weeks.
Dyson Racing played a pivotal role in developing the SP/300.R race car, sending former Le Mans 24 hour winner Guy Smith and its technical director, Peter Weston, out to Caterham’s test sessions during product development. The goal of the Caterham race car is to mirror the technology and appearance of the Lola Le Mans prototype, but in a more affordable fashionable.
“Like many of our customers, we can’t wait to get our hands on the SP/300.R. As in the UK, the popularity of track day driving is rocketing and the new vehicle is ideal for anybody who wants a reliable and cost-effective vehicle with very serious but accessible performance,” said Chris Dyson, Dyson Racing Team Vice President and Sporting Director.
Check out two videos on the Caterham SP/300.R after the break.
The all-new 2013 SRT Viper is without a doubt the star of this year’s New York Auto Show. Boasting big numbers, the Viper’s enormous 8.4-liter V10 engine produces 640-hp. Plus, SRT has announced a factory-backed return of the Viper to the American Le Mans Series and international endurance racing.
But here comes the most important bit of information of all – show your support for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer and the very first Viper can be yours. The official charity of the American Le Mans Series, the Austin Hatcher Foundation For Pediatric Cancer’s mission is to aid cancer children and their families during the treatment and to provide continuing support throughout survivorship, all services are at no cost to families, and are funded solely buy donation.
The auction for the first 2013 SRT Viper will hold at Barrett-Jackson of Orange County, from June 22-24. Serial #01 vehicles have displayed a historic trend of reaching massive figures by auction end, so it will be exciting to see how much the new Viper can raise for the Austin Hatcher organization.
Co-founder of Austin Hatcher Foundation Dr. Jim Osborn said, “We are very excited that the first production Viper be auctioned at Barrett- Jackson Orange County to benefit the many families faced with pediatric cancer. We just can’t thank Mr. Gilles and his team enough.”
GALLERY: 2013 SRT Viper
Audi‘s LMP team is coming back to the United States, debuting the R18 TDI in American soil for the first time and challenging for victory at the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta.
Earlier this year, the Audi R18 TDI already won at the 24 hours of Le Mans in dramatic style, so the team looks forward to ending the racing season in dominant form. Driving the R18 will be Rinaldo “Dindo” Capello, the winningest racing driving at Road Atlanta, along with the duo that earned many podiums for Audi, Timo Berhand and Marcel Fässler.
During last year’s race at Road Atlanta, Capello had to make an unscheduled pitstop when an insert in his helmet came unfastened and dangled over his eyes, obstructing his view. Were it not for that wardrobe malfunction that cost Capello the race, Audi would have won at Road Atlanta for the tenth time.
If you won’t be able to travel, catch the race on Eurosport or ESPN. Qualifying begins Friday, September 30th and the race will start on 11:30am on Saturday, October 1.
GALLERY: Audi R18
Porsche‘s updated GT3 R Hybrid made its North American debut this weekend at the American Le Mans Series race at Laguna Seca and the folks at Porsche couldn’t be happier. Well, that’s not exactly true. They’d be a lot happier if the car had been racing for points.
Driven by Porsche works drivers Romain Dumas and Richard Lietz the hybrid not only posted the fastest lap time of all the GT competitors, but it completed the 6 hour endurance race with just three pit stops, compared to five for its rivals. And to make the victory even more impressive, because the car wasn’t competing for points it wasn’t eligible to qualify and so it started at the back of the grid.
“The start phase was huge fun, because it was relatively easy to overtake the slower competitors,” said Romain Dumas. “But it’s even more fun because we can apply superior tactics thanks to the lower fuel consumption. We are much more flexible and we made the most of this today.”
“We had the least pit stops of all the teams and showed clearly what the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid can do,” said Lietz. “We didn’t experience one technical problem and left all the other GT vehicles behind us. Our expectations have been far exceeded.”
And with that excellent news, there was added celebration as it was also a Porsche that managed to take the first place spot in the race, with Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long finishing just ahead of one of the BMWs to lock down the team’s third victory this season.
The GT3 R Hybrid mates a 470-hp naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine powering the rear wheels with an additional 200-hp of electric boost available on demand to the front wheels thanks to Porsche’s innovative flywheel hybrid technology.
GALLERY: Porsche GT3 R Hybrid at Laguna Seca
Porsche is about to unleash a very different type of hybrid on the residents of California, announcing plans to have the GT3 R Hybrid race car take part in the American Le Mans Series race at Laguna Seca on September 17th.
The race car won’t be eligible to race for points, as the ALMS governing body does not yet allow hybrids, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be competing and looking for a win. Porsche works pilots, Romain Dumas and Richard Lietz, who have both raced the car, will be sharing duties behind the wheel.
Version 2.0 of the hybrid racer, the GT3 R Hybrid uses a modified version of the original’s powertrain, making 470-hp from a naturally aspirated six-cylinder boxer engine, with an additional 200-hp of electric boost available on demand. It also weights over 100 lbs less than the original thanks to a focus on weight savings for the electric components.
So far the GT3 R Hybrid has competed in two races this year, finishing a disappointing 28th at the Nurburgring 24 Hour Race as a result of rule changes for hybrid cars as well as contact with another vehicle. The hybrid racer did start off the year strong, however, taking the podium at the Nürburgring Long Distance Championship in Germany.
GALLERY: Porsche GT3 R Hybrid
This is the only race series around the world in which four different types of fuels are being used, namely E10, E85, diesel and isobutanol. Also, apart from the result of championship points given to teams and drivers respective of their finish in the race, ALMS also awards a championship within a championship to the greenest team on the grid.
Now the series is looking to go greener still by hoping to soon introduce natural gas powered race cars. In an interview with Fox Car Report, ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton said he wants to “demonstrate the competitiveness of natural gas, and the ease and convenience of refueling, because right now that’s seen as one of the impediments. If you can take away some of what the consumer would describe as downside issues, and demonstrate its competitiveness and the fact that you don’t have to sacrifice anything, I think it would go a long way toward mainstream acceptance of natural gas as a fuel for any type of vehicle.”
When asked about electric race cars, Atherton said this technology might play in this series in the future, but not at the moment, saying electric drivetrains cannot handle the stress of such a race series, however he is looking at other electric race series to bring in as part of their support festivities. Nissan has already hinted at an all electric series using spec versions of the NISMO Leaf RC race car.
In a merger that seems obvious from the get-go, American Le Mans has named the Sports Car Club of America its Official Grassroots Motorsports Partner.
No, not Grassroots Motorsports, the required summer reading of any Miata or E30 owner—grassroots motorsports, as in an attempt for American Le Mans to reach out to those not blessed with talent scouts or an innate driving ability honed from being in go-karts from the age of 4. It’s a way for American Le Mans to leverage the support of SCCA’s 60,000+ members, though we’d be hard-pressed to find one of them who hasn’t heard of ALMS.
“The partnership between ALMS and SCCA is a very natural one,” said Scott Atherton the president and CEO of ALMS. “The majority of ALMS fans are auto enthusiasts, many of them wondering how they can become more involved in motorsports at a grassroots level; the SCCA is the ideal place to start that journey. Similarly, we believe SCCA members have a deep appreciation for our sport and hope all of them will take full advantage of the fan-centered opportunities the ALMS offers.”
The next race in the 2011 American Le Mans season will be on the weekend of July 8-9 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. And in the grand tradition of motorsports being sponsored by vaguely irresponsible-seeming manufacturers of hard liquor, the top sponsor this year is Tequila Patrón.
[Source: American Le Mans]
It may be one of America’s most storied races, but the car sitting on the pole for tomorrow’s 59th running of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring isn’t even from a manufacturer that sells cars here.
Topping the Audis in qualifying was Anthony Davidson in the Peugeot 908 with a 1:46.571 lap time. Davidson will race with Alexander Wurz and Marc Gene in tomorrow’s endurance classic, defending last year’s title. Peugeots also took third and fifth place in qualifying, divided by two Audi R15s in second and fourth. Tom Kristensen set the second fastest lap in qualifying with a 1:47.680, and will share the car with partners Allan McNish and Dindo Capello before the R15 chassis is retired.
And while LMP1 saw a battle between European rivals, LMP2 came down to an all-Japanese dual, with the Level 5 Motorspots Lola-Honda driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay besting Soheil Ayari in the Signatech Nissan. A second Level 5 Motorsports Honda placed third.
In the hotly-contested GT category, the new Ferrari 458GT cars got all the publicity, but managed only 5th in class, while one of the older F430GT models driven by Gianmaria Bruni took the GT pole. Finishing just behind was the Corvette ZR1 driven by Oliver Gavin. BMW took third in an M3 GT driven by Dirk Werner, with the top-placing Porsche just sixth.
Watch all the action starting Saturday, March 19 on ABC, ESPN2 or ESPN3.com. Those outside the U.S. can watch the race live at www.americanlemans.com
Highcroft Racing has dominated the LMP2 class of the American Le Mans Series for the past 4 years, but the program didn’t seem to be doing much to promote the Acura brand. In light of that, the car will now be branded as a Honda Performance Development car, a move that signals both a positive shift for Honda’s in-house go-fast division, and a bad omen for the company’s beleaguered luxury division.
This year, Highcroft will be campaigning their new entry in the much tougher LMP1 class. Patron will also no longer be sponsoring the car, having decided to instead sponsor the ALMS series as a whole. Michelin will step up to provide the funding for Highcroft. The new car, dubbed ARX-01e, will share the same tub and 3.4L V8 as the LMP2 cars of years past, but everything from the suspension to the aerodynamic package will change to make the car more competitive for LMP1.
With legendary race cars like the Audi R15 and Peugeot 908HDi as the top dogs of LMP1, Highcroft will have a tough fight ahead of them if they want to gain any ground. The first race, held in Sebring, Florida, kicks off Saturday.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
West Racing Team announced last October that it would field a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 race car in the American Le Mans Series, marking the return of the Italian brand to ALMS since a dismal performance back in 2004 with a Murcielago R-GT. After much anticipation and with the season nearing its start, West Racing has just released the first photos of the purpose built race car.
Few details about the car are available, but it certainly looks menacing painted matte-black and sporting a set of HRE Monoblok wheels. Tires come from Yokohama Advan, which will sponsor the effort for the season.
West Racing recently announced Nicky Pastorelli and Dominik Schwager as drivers, with the first race set to take place March 19th, at Sebring.
We’ll be sure to keep an eye on the team and see if a Lamborghini can in fact be a successful race car.