• Dec 3, 2007
Despite confirmation from Audi that it will return to ALMS in 2008 with two R10 TDIs, apparently it's not officially official. It is well known that Audi holds extreme displeasure for ALMS regulation changes involving weight that were aimed at keeping the LMP1 vehicles like the R10 in close running with the less powerful LMP2 vehicles. Audi believes that the adjustments went too far, as the Penske Porsche RS Sypders won 8 out of 12 races in the 2007 season. For 2008, a 50 kg (110 lb) weight penalty will be imposed on the LMP2 cars for the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, and Audi hopes to see IMSA implement the same weight penalty before it decides it will return to ALMS. When asked, Audi would also not go into detail on whether they would accept the rumored compromise of a 25 kg (55 lb) weight penalty. Come on, IMSA. The ALMS without Audi is a lot less attractive.

[Source: Autoweek]


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  • 34 Comments
      HotRodzNKustoms
      • 7 Years Ago
      ALMS is dead as far as I'm concerned LMP1 should be faster than LMP2 and the Corvettes are just parading their superiority around in GT1 and GT2 just confuses me but has provided some fantastic racing. What would I like to see become of GT 1? Allow the Corvettes can try to chase down some LMP cars by removing all restrictions on them. I think it would just be a enjoyable race to watch the Vettes eat LMP2 cars down the straights just to be passed in the corners like in the days of Cobras vs. Porsches.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @HotRodzNKustoms
        The Prodrive run Astons can do just fine against the Corvettes, they did beat them at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
        HotRodzNKustoms
        • 7 Years Ago
        @HotRodzNKustoms
        The Astons have a hard time competing with heavily restricted Corvettes. And I would love to see Audi have some real competition and for LMP1 cars to have some restrictions lifted.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @HotRodzNKustoms
        The Astons competed well against the Vettes in 2006, when there was heavy restrictions and huge weight on the Vettes (so much weight they removed some for safety reasons at the race at Road Atlanta). In 2005 when the Vettes had less restriction, the Vettes ran away with it.

        Now, being equalization racing, it's tough to say whether 2005 was more "fair" or 2006 was more "fair", so I won't even get into that. I like good racing, so I preferred to watch in 2006. But I will say that if you removed the penalties, the Vettes would be a lot faster than the (relatively unencumbered) Astons were, and they would indeed pass LMP2 cars on the long straights, although of course with the higher weights and heights of the Vettes, they'd get killed in the corners.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @HotRodzNKustoms
        Then you must not be real concerned, because the ALMS is far from being dead. Yes, GT1 is pathetic, but it in 2009 P&M will move to LMP1 or whatever it is going to be called them, and we may see the Astons back in 2008.
        HotRodzNKustoms
        • 7 Years Ago
        @HotRodzNKustoms
        I have to give them that even though by that time the vettes had heavy weight penalties and air restrictors. I just don't like it when a series handicaps cars like ALMS does when it is not a spec class.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Audi should just stop racing. they're aware of their automotive racing history, aware that they always come to an event, win, and are subsequently banned or penalized beyond competitiveness. Just stop racing audi, the other automakers like the status quo.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You know what needs to happen is the true separation of the prototype classes. LMP1 is supposed to be faster. They're supposed to win overall. If IMSA saddles P1 with weight and fuel penalties to increase the competitiveness between P1 and P2, why do they even bother having two separate classes? They should focus on intra-class competitiveness so you don't get race results where only a couple P1 cars beat the top P2 cars, typically the Audis while the next best P1 cars are several laps behind. I'd like to see the other P2 cars have a spitting chance at winning in class too.

      If Porsche wants to win overall, they should build a P1 car.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Then perhaps instead of allowing such a variance of powerplants under the same classification constraints, why don't they hand out weigh and restrictor penalties depending on recorded lap times, finishes, etc? (a la SuperGT) If the focus is to maintain competitiveness, I think that's the best way without resorting to a true spec-type series.

        Of course, I loved seeing the R10s battle it out with the RS Spyders at Laguna Seca so I don't necessarily think Audi's penalties are bad for the series. I just would have rathered to see them battling cars in their own class for class/overall wins.

        P2 is still too fast.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ALMS has pretty much lost all of my interest. The only real competition worth watching is in the GT2 class, and the rest are just kind of..."out there".

      Give me a North American broadcast of the FIA GT/GT3 Championships any day instead.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah, Audi always seems to get the messy end of the stick. It's almost like they're being punished for having a good car. It's typical in a lot of racing series though, to saddle the guys who are doing well with all sorts of restrictions and penalties. It makes for closer racing, but from the affected team's point of view it must suck.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have to agree with Audi on this. LMP1 should be faster than LMP2 just as GT1 is faster than GT2. I don't see the ALMS slowing doqwn the Corvettes so that GT1 cars can beat them. If Porsche/Acura want to compete for the overall win then they should build LMP1 cars.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Porsche did build a LMP1 car the 2007 RS Spyder Lmp2 car. As my post said above Porsche knows what their doing they are one of the best at interpreting the rule book to their advantage. Audi built a chassis to win at Lemans and now they want a crying towel for being the poor souls that got beat. Audi needs the get over it and build a car that's consistent on all tracks. Porsche will not be sleeping they will be faster next year. Just because an LMP1 car is suppose to be faster on paper doesn't mean a thing. Porsche built a better car run by a better team, end of story.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The P2's aren't too fast, their advantage is brakes and and handling. The Audi's have straight line speed and torque. Both classes have their advantages which makes a nice mix and for exciting racing. Porsche doesn't need a P1 car to win over-all, Porsche is not stupid they know exactly what their doing, they looked at that rule book and saw that a P2 car suited their needs. A year's development and they were winning over-all, Porsche knows how to play the rule book to their advantage, just look at their past history, 904,908, 917, 917/30, 935, 936, etc. Alms needs to leave things alone and tell Audi to quit complaining and up their game. If the Alms changes anything it should be for making other Lmp1 cars faster, help them out. Then when you get a bunch of competitive Lmp I cars capable of winning instead of just two you can divide the performance of the two classes more. I'm not going to pay good money to attend a race and watch two Audi's race off in the distance very time.
        • 7 Years Ago
        why not: The ACO doesn't make the rules for ALMS, only for Le Mans. IMSA has adopted some of the ACO regs, but hardly all of them. Next year, prototypes at Le Mans must be closed cockpit. Also, one of the privateer P1 teams with a gasoline powered car that thinks the ACO hasn't gone far enough to balance diesel performance is Henri Pescarolo, who won't return unless the diesels see a stiffer weight penalty.

        Second, you've got it backwards; Porsche developed a P2 car and brought in Penske to run the team. He's a little success with racing purpose-built Porsches before. ;^)

        Finally, consider the tracks on which the series runs. Most of the road courses in the U.S., former home of sports car racing, are smaller and tighter than European circuits. Exceptions include Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring and Watkins Glen. But that leaves a lot of tracks that favor the lighter P2 cars: street circuits, Laguna Seca.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Agreed. I would support hobbling P2 and chasing the highly-funded teams out of P2 if the rules for P1 are fixed. P2 was supposed to be (it seems) for relatively poorly funded cars. It gave them a class they could compete well in and even win some races (in their class).

        But the problem was the ACO screwed up P1 so teams couldn't enter and compete. So suddenly people like Roger Penske (that small-time racer you might have heard of) who want to race in ALMS see no point to making a P1 car. No one wants to spend a lot of money with no chance of winning. So Penske enters P2. Now P2 is "spoiled" with an overmatched competitor, and will win every race in their class. So you might as well let them compete with another class for the overall win. Then once Penske does that, how can you tell Acura they can't come in and go through the same loophole that Penske did. Especially when it produced such great racing (and Acura showing up made even better racing).

        If the rules are fixed to make it possible for gas cars to compete in P1, then I would support chasing Penske and Acura into P1 and returning P2 to the shoestring privateers. We'd have competition for the overall win, we'd have competition for the P1 win. We'd have reasonable competition for the P2 win (who would probably return to finishing behind GT1 in the overall).

        Acura and Penske win. P2 privateers win. The fans win. Everybody wins. Well, except Audi. As my friend Spock once said "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one". If Audi has to take a bite to make ALMS better, it's just not a tough decision to make.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ALMS should chassis dyno each car for rear wheel HP and adjust the weight so each car has the same HP/weight ratio. dyno the cars before and after the race and adjust the weight. that way all cars can run for overall win. having classes just confuses any new race fan.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yes, the factory Corvettes will be regardless of the competition, do you live under a rock?
        • 7 Years Ago
        classes are great for PRODUCTION cars but not purpose built race cars. i raced for years,"run what you brung" and the guy that did his homework won. i would like to see the corvettes run for overall win and without engine restrictions they could
        • 7 Years Ago
        the factory race team corvettes will not be racing next year in ALMS and the corvettes that will be racing are private owner corvettes. the factory race team corvettes will only race the 24 hour at le mans unless factory team aston martin returns to ALMS
        • 7 Years Ago
        They have classes for a reason, and they are not about to make them one any time soon.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ALMS is a lot less attractive without Audi?

      Those whiners can go home. Without Audi, there'd be a question as to who might win for each race.

      In Le Mans Series (LMS) last year, the Diesels were turning laps over 3% faster than the other cars. This is ridiculous in an equalization-based series. Especially when there are no privateer Diesels.

      If it comes down to losing Audi or losing the privateers, it's no question. Racing will go on without Audi. Without the privateers, it'd be only 6 cars out there. That's not a series.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, one factor is money. Diesels cost a lot more than regular gas powered cars. Second the factory teams don't want to give up their advantage, so that is another reason. Charouz Racing may get the 908 in the LMS, so there may still be a privateer diesel in 2008.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Any what, may I ask, is preventing the privateers from running a racing winning diesel?
      • 7 Years Ago
      As Bulldog Briscoe would say, "This stinks, it's total B.S."

      Audi was punished for coming up with a winning better idea.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Pay close attention IMSA, unfortunately your series isn't that popular. Back off the artificial limiters and let them race.

      I attended the Houston Grand Prix this year specifically to see the Audis in action and was more than annoyed to see these ham-fisted restrictions on a technically advanced car. If you want to double the crowds next season make it attractive for Peugeot to field their diesel entry as real competition. If you want to triple the crowds add a category for alternative fuels and power sources.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Why would you let the Diesels run unhindered when the gas cars are restricted? It makes zero sense. Again, the R10 couldn't even beat the 2000 R8, let alone an unrestricted gas car.

        By comparing the ALMS draw to a Champ Car race, you show how big a draw is on an ALMS race. Watch a Grand Am, FIA GT or LMS race on TV some time and check out the stands. Evne at Grand Am's premier race, the 24 hours of Daytona, the stands are usually completely empty. ALMS is a far bigger draw than these other series.

        Peugeot has no inclination to run a full series in ALMS (they don't sell cars here), so you can't expect Peugeot to come here and make a race out of ALMS. And for other companies, it makes no sense to make a Diesel. They're useless in performance applications (the R10 engine is 50% larger and heavier than the 2000 R8 engine which made the same power) and they cannot buy a race Diesel from a company like Judd, as they don't have one to sell.

        Again, it makes zero sense to artificially restrict gas cars just so Diesel cars can win, as ACO has done.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I think we may just have to agree to disagree on this one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        nagmashot:
        Again, no. First of all, there were no closed top cars the year the weight minimum was raised. The first closed top car (the Peugeot) came the year after. There can be whatever you want in Wikipedia but it doesn't change the actual reason the rules were changed.

        And your comment the Audi was 35kg overweight is wrong. It would have been 35kg overweight if they didn't change the rules to favor it. So instead it was only 10kg overweight.

        These are both academic anyway, since due to the fuel advantage (the R10 had 25% more energy it its tank the a gas car), the Audi R10 was able to stop far less often for fuel. IIRC, the R10 went 14 laps at Le Mans on a tank while other LMP1 cars went 11 or 12. There's simply no way to compete with a Diesel if it is taking 20% fewer stops than you, given that stops in Le Mans take at least a minute (if you don't change tires or driver).

        I just noticed Bob saying ALMS "isn't that popular". He should go to a Grand Am or Le Mans Series race some time. Unless the fans are hiding somewhere, ALMS easily outdraws these series.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The reason they restrict the diesels is due to their very high torque (acceleration advantage) and much better fuel economy (range advantage). The minimum weight was raised to reduce the diesel advantage on both counts, not because the diesels couldn't be made light enough. IMSA's goal was to hobble the diesel enough to allow the LMP2 cars to be a challenge with their lighter weight.

        So you are partially correct, with no restrictions you would see no diesels at all. Except when they were lapping you.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Please, you're kidding me. Without restrictions, the Diesels don't stand a chance. Even if the restrictions on gas cars were relaxed to what they were when the R8 debuted, the Diesels would never be seen again.

        The minimum weight in LMP1 was raised when Diesels couldn't make the previous racing weight. Gas cars are limited to 4.0L engines (the R10 has a 5.5L engine). Gas cars are limited to 0.6 bar of Boost (the R10 has 2 Bar). Gas cars are limited to an air intake restrictor about half the area of the Diesels.

        With no restrictions, we'd see no Diesels at all. Even if just the minimum weight were removed, we'd see no Diesels at all.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Reread my initial post. I stated that I attended the Houston Grand Prix this year specifically to see the Audis in action. That was an AMLS race and that should be proof enough that I have seen the series first hand.

        The stands were not even half occupied during the AMLS race and there was no where near the crowd that was on hand for the Champ Car main event. From that first hand account I would say AMLS, while I greatly enjoy the series, isn't drawing fans at a level that would suggest they can start messing around with one of the few draws they have in pocket, in this case the Audi R10 diesel.

        Remove the restrictions on the diesels and they will run away with the race, just as they did at Le Mans for the last two years. The Audi juggernaut may not be entertaining for the other teams, or the fans of those other teams, but from an innovation and technology standpoint it is very interesting. Eventually other teams will adopt the new technology and competition will tighten, witness Peugeot showing up at Le Mans this year. It was a very good race in LMP1.

        From an engineering standpoint the dramatic improvements in range and torque would seem to indicate that a better solution has been found. Or at least a more refined solution. Given time the gasoline teams may find extra power and range with refinements to the engine, but until then let the diesels run unhindered.
      • 7 Years Ago
      One another comment, you don't hear Porsche crying that the Ferrari 430 GT2 car is faster and has an advantage with the mid engine layout over the 911. No, they know the areas that need to be worked on and next year's the 911 will be more competitive you can count on it, with no crying.
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