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JHS18

Sports Car Racing Thread

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Good progress for Toyota...we'll see how much closer they can get throughout the season.

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Interesting end to that battle in the GTE-Pro between Mucke and Bertolini. Wonder what action the stewards will take with that. Mucke has previous "experience" with the stewards...

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Overall, a good race I thought from what I saw of it - pretty sure Toyota may well win a race before this year's out on the basis of today.

Some great racing in other classes - just a shame we didn't really get to see it right at the end. Someone needs to have a word with the director I think. ALMS, to give them credit, normally know which class it is best to focus on at the end of a race.

So now that's done, what's the next one we've got to look forward to?

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The undoubtedly incomplete September sports car calendar:

1 September

American Le Mans Series: Baltimore

2 September

FIA GT1 World Championship: Moscow

9 September

Rolex Sports Car Series: Laguna Seca

15 September

World Endurance Championship: São Paulo

American Le Mans Series: Virginia

23 September

FIA GT1 World Championship: Nürburgring

Blancpain Endurance Series: Nürburgring

29 September

World Endurance Championship: Bahrain

Rolex Sports Car Series: Lime Rock

All are streaming live online with the exception of Rolex Sports Car races, which one will have to find some other way to stream if interested. U.S. audiences will have to wait for next-day coverage of the two ALMS races.

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Finally confirmed, after months of me saying it would be: Sebring is off the WEC calendar for 2013.

Audi have given a very non-committal "we love American racing" and "we'll see" about running Sebring, which they consider a "shame" to lose. They aren't going to be there and neither are Toyota, in my opinion.

I think it's for the best, personally. The logistics of a combined WEC/ALMS round were horrendous and everyone figured that out quickly.

Also: negotiations are on for DeltaWing to run at Petit Le Mans. Consider Dr. Don Panoz is in control of DeltaWing, and Dr. Don Panoz is in control of Petit Le Mans, these negotiations can't be too difficult. :P

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Toyota have confirmed they have started work on a '14 spec car.

A good sign - but remember, Peugeot were all ready to go and believed they'd be racing this year before the board pulled the plug just before the season started...

No, I'm joking. Good on Toyota - seems like they do view this as a long term thing rather than just for a couple of years. I think with the hybrid rules (hybrid being increasingly important to their road car division) and with Porsche and whoever else entering in 2014, now is a good time to invest in the sport.

I suspect Audi's already well underway with their '14 work as well. McNish dropped some heavy hints on practice/qualifying day at Silverstone that they were when talking to Radio Le Mans saying he can't wait for the next car.

Could mean nothing, but positive signs.

Edited by JHS18

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Well, to be fair to Peugeot, they lost hundreds of millions of Euros that quarter, and is continuing to do so (I think they've lost close to one billion Euros in the first half). It was a decision totally independent of auto racing/performance/competition. Just a company flat-out sucking right now and looking for easy things to cut (advertising is always cut first. Auto racing is largely advertising, to varying degrees of efficacy both in that area and outside of it).

Anyway, all good news to have some commitments for 2014. You have Audi, Porsche, Toyota, and HPD confirmed with new LMP1s. Kodewa also say the Lotus T128 LMP2 will be upgradable to LMP1 spec, but it is unclear if they will actually run a "Lotus" LMP1 in 2014 or if that's just something a customer could do.

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GT is looking very strong as well, according to this:

Could the GTE platform grow to include even more manufacturers? There are up to three new players either seriously evaluating or finalizing programs for as early as next year which could spice up the production-based category not only in the FIA WEC but the ALMS as well.

Taken from the SPEED site.

I recall hearing that Honda had racing plans for the new NSX, but can't think who the other two may be? McLaren with the MP4-12C? A GTE version of the Nissan GTR?

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Reading on another well known forum it could possibly be the Lexus LFA as well. Now that is a car I'd love to see racing.

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I've heard McLaren's definitely interested. But getting it homologated is another thing.

Daily Sports Car says that WEC may run on the F1 track in Elroy, Texas next year as a replacement for Sebring. ALMS is already running there in May and the proposal is allegedly to have ALMS run Saturday and WEC run Sunday as two separate races. I'm alright with this, but the ALMS race was supposed to be an endurance race, and I have a feeling if WEC is there, they might shorten the ALMS race already scheduled. As long as the WEC race doesn't get in the way of the ALMS one, I'm fine with that.

SPEED had an article about Ganassi's IndyCar program, and in it they mentioned that they are working on a second Daytona Prototype for next year and a new GT team. It didn't specify what series the GT was part of, but I think Grand-Am is implied (can you imagine, for a moment, a championship battle between Ganassi and Starworks, and the Ganassi GT holds up the Starworks prototype deliberately? It'd be awful).

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Le Mans has been moved to June 22-23 next year to avoid conflict with F1 (this confirms the New Jersey race will take place on June 16, one weekend after Montréal).

The ALMS/WEC double-header (two separate races) at COTA is more and more likely. There are also possibilities of ELMS/ALMS double-headers, but I'm not sure where the money is to 1) revive ELMS and 2) have them race in the U.S.

The WEC calendar will leave the Sebring weekend open so WEC teams can race it, even though it won't be a WEC race.

Rumors of a BMW Z4 GT in ALMS are picking up. It would replace the M3 that Team RLL runs for BMW. Possible the M3s could be sold to customers to run in the new ALMS GT-Am. No idea if they will run the Z4 in European GTE at all.

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Having a European Le Mans race in America sort of defeats the object of the championship, does it not?

The clue is in the name EUROPEAN Le Mans. The ELMS teams who are not doing Petit Le Mans this year is because their sponsors are only interested in racing in Europe, that's why they signed up to the ELMS to start with, instead of the WEC.

Can't really understand the logic behind that one. It'd be like the ALMS coming to race in Europe...doesn't make an awful lot of sense.

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Having a European Le Mans race in America sort of defeats the object of the championship, does it not?

The clue is in the name EUROPEAN Le Mans. The ELMS teams who are not doing Petit Le Mans this year is because their sponsors are only interested in racing in Europe, that's why they signed up to the ELMS to start with, instead of the WEC.

I wondered the same thing. I'm not sure how this would work at all. The other thing I don't quite understand is, with ALMS having such a poor turnout in LMP1 and LMP2, why would you ever run additional LMP2s in a separate race when you could run them with ALMS? It seems to me if a team has the budget and the interest to race in the U.S., I'd rather that team just be on the ALMS grid. I understand running ALMS and WEC separately because 1) too many egos right now and 2) there are too many cars total between the two series, but I'm not sure I understand the ELMS part of the rumor.

The other thing is that the WEC race at COTA will be horribly attended unless it's the same day as ALMS. If it's the day after, forget it. It's just like the WTCC race at Sonoma. Why bother bringing series to the U.S. if they aren't even on U.S. television? The other thing...the people in the Austin area aren't going to be able to afford going to hundreds of races in a year. COTA goes from viable to complete crap when they schedule F1, ALMS, WEC, MotoGP, V8 Supercars, and IndyCar all in the 2013 season. No one is going to pay to go to all of them so you're just stealing attendance from your own events.

Can't really understand the logic behind that one. It'd be like the ALMS coming to race in Europe...doesn't make an awful lot of sense.

It's happened before.

In 2000, ALMS raced at Silverstone and Nürburgring in their own events. They also had their own race in Adelaide which obviously isn't Europe, but the same concept of international travel.

As a result of the Silverstone and Nürburgring races' success, the ELMS was created in 2001 by Dr. Don Panoz and sanctioned by IMSA (who sanction the ALMS, so slightly different rules from the ACO).

In 2001, ALMS ran joint events with the ELMS at Donington Park and Jarama. ELMS ran joint events with the ALMS at Sebring and Petit Le Mans. These events were not mandatory, though.

That version of the ELMS folded after 2001 before the ACO started their own for 2004.

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Also, there may be track changes for the Baltimore ALMS race tomorrow. The IndyCars are practicing now and the circuit runs over light rail train tracks. It's causing them to, unsurprisingly, get airborne. ALMS will be out to practice in a few minutes so we'll see what happens with them. The race is 21:30 GMT tomorrow.

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The Conquest Endurance Morgan LMP2 Nissan had to exit practice early due to internal damage caused by, you guessed it, the bumpiness of this track.

Two years in a row, this event has been a train wreck. Why do we go here?

Anyway, Dyson led practice over Pickett Racing, so that's interesting, but it was close. Conquest led LMP2, while CORE Autosport paced LMPC. GT went Corvette, Corvette, BMW, BMW, Paul Miller Porsche, Flying Lizard Porsche, and Team Falken Porsche. Very little pace from the F458s, Evora, and Vipers. This track isn't suited to the Ferrari, and no track is suited to the Evora or Viper yet. Green Hornet led GTC.

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On both the ALMS and IndyCar side of this Baltimore weekend, tons of complaints from both drivers and teams about soreness and damage from the train tracks.

Last year, they had a chicane added at that part. They haven't committed to that yet, but they are trying to grind the track down.

I can't believe that a year later and we're still having this issue. I really hope this is one of the two venues ALMS is not returning to next year. There are a lot of great tracks, permanent and even temporary, in North America. This isn't one of them and it's just not the kind of place sports cars should be racing.

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If NASCAR sanctions ALMS, as they do with Grand-Am, I'm going to puke. I can't lose this series. I already lost Champ Car to a bogus merger. Don't do this to me. Please. Please. Please.

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I am literally sick to my stomach waiting for updates on this. I feel like someone's dying and I know that sounds so stupid, but the ALMS is something my dad and I really enjoy watching together and I don't want it gone. I hope this will be sensible. If they do this:

LMP (LMP2 cars with option of restricted LMP1s)

DP (DPs with restricted LMPCs)

LMGT (current ALMS GT)

DGT (current Grand-Am GT)

I will be happy. But I can't convince myself that's going to happen.

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Yeah, I wasn't sure whether you'd approve or not. It's an interesting idea anyway, I guess the argument is that it is better to have one strong series rather than two moderately strong or whatever...but that didn't really seem to work when Indycar and Champ Car merged, so who knows?

It will certainly be interesting to see how they work it all out.

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My approval comes when I see which classes are running and the calendar. The IndyCar/Champ Car merge was very rushed, and as you know, they all just went to IndyCar-spec on IndyCar's schedule.

This merge is at least giving them 2013 to sort things out, so that's a start. Now it's just a matter of accommodating the classes of both series and the best parts of each series' calendar. If they don't do those things, I'm not going to be happy at all. My biggest fears:

1. Losing great venues from either calendar.

2. Losing LMPs, which I expect to happen. I don't think they'll fit in.

3. Being subjected to NASCAR's crazy equalization, lack of rules and officiating, and team subsidization.

Waiting for the details is going to be agonizing.

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Just as I post that, a reliable source has shared some information that I hope is false. It sounds like Dr. Don Panoz sold the ALMS to Grand-Am, and we're just getting an expanded Grand-Am. We'll have to see how accurate that is but now I'm worried.

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That'd not make a lot of sense. How would that work for invites for Le Mans? There's no class for DPs at Le Mans, and if Grand-Am did become the de-facto single American sportscar series, I wonder how the ACO would feel about that.

Mind you, with the Asian Le Mans Series starting (a replacement ALMS yey! tongue.png) they may just give invites to winners from that. But then there's the GT300 cars racing in that and...argh...I don't know, I'm confused.

Looking at it now, it is a bit of a mess about how they'll fit it altogether, but I guess the interesting thing is to see how the teams react, because they'll vote with their feet. If it is to become an expanded Grand-Am and teams don't want to do that, they may well do Indycar or whatever, maybe WEC if for some teams next year was a choice of ALMS or/and WEC.

Not for a second trying to make it sound like it'll be great for WEC, and I feel for you with what you said earlier. Will be something interesting to keep an eye on anyway.

Edited by JHS18

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The ACO already reduced the ALMS invites from 8 to 3 for next year.

I think the connection to Le Mans will disappear altogether, and there will be 0 invites, even if LMPs and/or LMGTs are included. NASCAR isn't going to care about the ACO or a race they can't sanction. They just want to save Grand-Am, and I think the ALMS is in a position much like Champ Car, where it either sells or dies and they chose to at least sell it. Obviously, that's not confirmed, and we have to wait, but I think the ACO has lost American sports car racing beyond a U.S. WEC round (I personally hope that the WEC will take over either Sebring or Petit once ALMS moves on).

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