AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
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.
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.
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.
For over a century, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has hosted more race cars than one can count thanks to the annual Indy 500. But this weekend, when it hosts the Grand-Am Brickyard Grand Prix, the track will emit the sound of a rotary engine for its very first time.
Yesterday Acura announced it would field a two car effort at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill race later this year using its new ILX sports sedan. Now Acura has revealed that racing plans for the ILX might not stop there.
A grid of 58 vehicles at the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona made this year’s event one of the most competitive races in the history of the franchise. It was so competitive, in fact, NASCAR star racing driver AJ Allmendinger of the Michael Shank Racing #60 Ford/Riley car only beat Starworks Motorsport’s pole-sitter Ryan Dalziel by 5.198 seconds after 24 hours of heated competition.
After Allmendinger had won the Rolex 24, he described his last stint as, “the most fun three hours of racing I’ve ever done.”
Struggling for a race win at the Rolex 24 ever since 2004, Michael Shank Racing’s remarkable victory got even sweeter when its second Daytona Prototype crossed the line to clinch third and close out the podium. However, the battle between Allmendinger and Dalziel in their last stint was so relentless that the Michael Shank No. 6 sister car driven by Felipe Nasr couldn’t stay with the battle and fell back, finishing the race almost a minute behind. The top-three finishers were all Ford/Riley prototypes.
The #60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley was brought to the checkered flag by A.J. Allmendinger and co-drivers Justin Wilson, John Pew and Oswaldo Negri Jr. Starwork’s impressive 2nd place finish was thanks to the valiant driving performed by Ryan Dalziel and co-drivers Enzo Potolicchio, Lucas Luhr, Allan McNish and Alex Popow. Finally, in third place, the sister Michael Shank car was driven by Felipe Nasr, Michael McDowell, Jorge Goncalvez and Gustavo Yacaman.
Kia Motors America’s motorsports program hit a new high last year grabbing the Team and Driver titles in the 2011 Street Tuner (ST) class in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Now they’re looking forward to 2012 with new driver pairings for both the number-10 and number-12 Infinity Audio Forte Koups.
The first race of the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Championship season will be on January 27, 2012 at Daytona International Speedway and Kia will have Andy Lally and Nic Jönsson to lead the way. Lally returns to the Kia Racing program fresh off his 2011 Sonoco Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year performance, reuniting with ST Driver Champion Jönsson. Both drivers were last seen capturing Kia’s first-ever Grand-Am podium at Daytona in January 2011 before Lally went off to NASCAR.
Both drivers are extremely excited and looking forward to the start of the new season and defending the Driver and Team championships for Kia Racing.
Set to compete in the 2012 Grand-Am Racing Series and making its debut at the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Race, Chevrolet’s Corvette Daytona Prototype was caught testing at Daytona and there’s plenty of videos showing what it can do.
The footage includes some fan-shot videos that really show off what the car is all about and loud its V8 rumble. Four different teams will be campaigning the new Corvette Daytona, and Chevrolet hopes that one of them will claim the 24 Hours of Daytona Race, where the last time a Corvette has won was back in 2001 with a C5-R.
Check out the videos after the break.
GALLERY: Corvette Daytona Prototype
[Source: Inside Line]
The very first Audi R8 LMS race car to compete in America has been announced. APR Motorsport will be the first team to campaign the special Audi race car during the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.
APR Motorsports, a division of the famed Audi tuning shop, is becoming known for its “firsts”, entering the new B8 designation Audi S4 in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Challenge last seasons.
APR Motorsports and Audi go way back. Stephen Hoods, the President and CEO of APR, used to be an aspiring racing driver and is a long time Audi enthusiast who competed in the Motorola Cup, or what used to be the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
While this will be the first Audi R8 LMS built for the Rolex Series, earlier examples of the race car have already made appearances in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America, winning more than a 100 victories along the way. No doubt, expectations for APR in the upcoming season will be high.
GALLERY: APR Motorsport Audi R8 LMS
The Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype will compete in the Grand-Am Racing series in 2012 and make its debut at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race. Four teams will run the cars, including the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing, the No. 10 SunTrust Racing, the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and the No. 5 and No. 9 Action Express Racing teams. The last time a Corvette won Daytona was in 2001 with a C5-R.
Hit the jump to read the press release below
Gallery: Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype
Kia will be joining in on the B-Spec racing series fun by offering race-prepped versions of the new 2012 Rio 5-door, joining the likes of the Mazda2 and Honda Fit. The B-Spec racing series is designed for low-budget racing enthusiasts featuring compact hatchbacks with little to no engine modifications. Kia will be working with Kinetic Motorsports to get Rio 5-Doors ready to race and is planning to announce more details at the upcoming 2011 SEMA Show.
Based on other B-Spec racing vehicles, we can safely assume that the race-prepped Rio will feature a roll cage, racing seats, harnesses, suspension modifications and a new wheel and tire package. B-Spec series racers are designed to compete in SCCA, NASA, Grand-Am and World Challenge race series. With basically stock engines in all of the vehicles, the race-ready Rio will sport the factory 1.6L that pumps out 138-hp and 123 lb-ft of torque, significantly more than either the Honda or Mazda.
Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 Kia Rio 5-Door review and see a preview of the 2011 SEMA Show here.
After recently achieving its 100th victory in international motorsports, the Audi R8 will finally look to add to that tally on American soil. Audi has announced that for the 2012 season the R8 LMS race car will be homologated to meet racing standards for the Grand Am Endurance Series, with the R8 set to make its race debut at the 50th running of the 24 Hours of Daytona on January 28th.
Audi won’t be running an official factory team but will instead offer the new cars up to customer teams. Those teams will, however, receive significant support with Audi Sport sending a crew to consult for the entire 2012 season.
To meet Grand Am regulations the R8 LMS will get a thicker roll cage, a new front splitter, rear diffuser and a custom rear spoiler set to Grand Am specifications. Engine output will also be limited (in the range of 450-hp to 470-hp), with changes to the fuel tank as well. Drivers used to competing in Europe are certain to have their hands full with the new car, as the car’s Euro-spec traction control isn’t permitted in Grand-Am.
“We’re convinced that we’re making a very attractive offer to our customers in the USA that will meet with great response,” says Romolo Liebchen, Head of customer racing at quattro GmbH. “The anniversary event of the Daytona 24 Hours is a perfect occasion for the debut of the U.S. version of the new Audi R8 LMS.”
In addition to the Grand Am series, Audi has also announced it is considering the R8 for use in another U.S. endurance series (the American Le Mans Series). Look for that to happen, but with a factory backed team.
Based on the GT3 version of the V8-powered Ferrari, out-of-house tuner Michelotto has pulled the wraps off its Grand Am 458 as testing begins for the new race car at the Fiorano Circuit. The 458 Italia Grand Am will be the first factory-sanctioned Ferrari to compete in the GT Class of Grand-Am’s Rolex Sports Car Series.
The exotic race car will feature 500-hp with a redline of 8000 rpm and to help it conform to GT-class rules, Michelotto made the vehicle less aerodynamic and included a 48-mm restrictor compared to the GT3 version. ABS and traction control were removed from the race car while a full cage was built with NASCAR door bars. It will, of course, be racing on Continental tires, the Grand Am series tire sponsor.