SPEED reports the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series are merging. Rumors have swirled around the marriage of the two series for years, but fired up in earnest two weeks ago. Though details are still scarce, SPEED says Grand-Am will likely take on sanctioning duties. The news comes courtesy of unnamed sources, including manufacturers and race participants, who indicate the championship may very well combine classes from both ALMS and the Rolex Series. ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton has denied the merger, and SPEED says a spokesperson for the Rolex Series declined to comment.

Traditionally, the two race series have been spirited rivals, and while both saw widespread support from manufacturers and privateer teams over the years, entries in key categories have recently declined.

The two won't officially combine until 2014 at the earliest. ALMS recently signed a one-year licensing deal with the sanctioning body behind the Le Mans series in Europe, which means we'll continue to see racing under the ALMS banner for at least one more season. Look for officials to make an official announcement on Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Florida.


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  • 16 Comments
      Number23
      • 2 Years Ago
      Having one series that has Daytona, Sebring and the PLM on its schedule will be fantastic, but let's hope it's more ALMS and less Grand Am.
      kevsflanagan
      • 2 Years Ago
      To me I don't like it and let me explain. These two great racing series merging means less racing. One week you could watch ALMS then two weeks later watch Grand Am. It was great if not fantastic for myself. Plus in between those race's we'd get to see the pretaped supporting races. Now with them merging I'll be getting less racing. PLUS what about the supporting racing series? Koni Challenge for instance? Will the DP's be pushed down into that set of racing so as to allow the ALMS PLM's free reign as the faster cars on track? That and I see some race teams possibly leaving racing all together for whatever reason (mainly grand am being owned by the france family who to me is trying to keep grand am in a full on legit shadow of NASCAR). My only small minor hope is that this may force the France Family's hand in finally promoting Grand Am the way it should be the true "stock car" series.
      Patrick Suddath
      • 2 Years Ago
      the more I read and listened to John Dagys interview on Drive, the more I am growing fearful that this is gonna dumb it all down, scratch LMP1, and sever the link to Le Mans I just hope I am wrong
      Patrick Suddath
      • 2 Years Ago
      agreed, the LMPs are much better then the DPs, and hopefully they can still keep their connection with Le Mans, maybe this marriage can bring back more of the major contenders such as Toyota and Audi if so
      Jason Brewer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well since the TV coverage for ALMS is as bad as it gets (tape delay and abbreviated coverage for races) I welcome this as I feel like Grand-Am is well run and has a good tv deal (all the races are on Speed this year) so I look at this as a chance for expanded coverage for sports car racing which is quickly overtaking F1 as my favorite type of racing to watch.
      Karl T
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd be VERY surprised if multiple classes were to exist. Grand Am is about dumbed-down sports car racing for (fans) who want generic, spec cars, and who apparently have a hard time following more than one class of cars with similar shapes. Sad news for US sports car racing.
        WMUCarGuy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Karl T
        Grand-Am currently runs two different series, each with two classes within each race. You're apparently one of the 'dumbed-down' fans... And while I've always been an ALMS fan over Grand-Am, the ALMS' current LMPC and GTC classes are literally spec racing, when Grand-Am is really nothing of the sort. Get your facts straight bud.
      Sir Duke
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm so HAPPY, doing my happy dance. Can't wait to see the ALMS cars at Sebring and Daytona. Time to visit the in-laws in Fla_la_la. Not sure what's going to happen to the Daytona Prototypes, but the GT should have no problem meeting in the middle. TV coverage should also be better mow.
      Joel B.
      • 2 Years Ago
      For this to work ALMS will need to drop LMPC and GTC. LMP2 will need to merge with LMP1, and the incoming DP's from Grand Am will become the new Class. The current GT cars will stay the same, with the Grand Am GT cars becoming a new GT class(like the former GT2 class). Then the big question will be, what about the schedule? Will they drop one of the big endurance races, like Daytona, Sebring, etc.?
        WMUCarGuy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joel B.
        The big races should go nowhere. It's some of the smaller, poorly attended races that need to be axed.
      djvolvo
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a huge fan of ALMS and one who was only vaguely aware the Rolex series even still existed, this concerns me greatly. Call me a pessimist, but these things never seem to end well. The "purists" get pissed and turn up their noses. The average fan may stick around if they have nothing better to do (but they won't bring their friends) and ultimately everyone just gets confused as to what they are watching and just walks away.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cheers! More cars for Memo & Scott to drive off the road. I think Ganassi has a team minimum quota for 'incidents' for those two. Grand Am would be a better series without them... THAT being said, Grand Am is good racing because the cars are do durable. Durable is good, but cutting edge engineering is more exciting. In this series the prototypes are really where it is at. The GT leaves me a little cold. When you can rebody a rear-wheel drive, V8 powered 'Pontiac' into the 'Camaro' over the winter, it's just not a true GT series in my opinion. The Mazdas and Porsches seem a lot closer to the spirit of GT. American Le Mans is a great idea. I just don't know how to make people car more. The prototypes can't attract the top teams from Europe except for the bookend races. The rest of the races P1 is a two car class. The GT racing is fabulous, but the cars are getting perilously far from the what I would call 'GT2'. When BMW has a rear mounted transaxle and the Ferrari is almost a silhouette car style& aero-wise, they are giving too many mods away. 'Run what ya brung' I think would be healthier. I find the Le Mans cars way more exciting that the Grand Am cars, in all classes. I like that they created a series with actual consequences for Le Mans. The series was enough of a success early on, that they copied it in other places in the world. If I got to choose, I would bring back homologation. Have some very *very* generous rules that would give a GT1 type class a real shot at being near the top and make manufacturers sell some actual cars to the 'public.' Without any evidence to back it up, I wonder how many Gallardos Lamborghini sells these days to guys my age or a little older with a poster of a crazy winged Countach back in the day? Or how many MP4-12C-wxyz-0987654321's they sell because of the fond memories someone had of the F1? I think these ultimate halo cars matter. Last, I think the auto series really need to find the next 'Tobacco' with a capital T. What is the industry that is going to want to sponsor racing and loves the next opportunity to shove it down the pie-hole of the competitor? I see lots of sponsors in F1, I see sponsors in Grand Am and ALMS, but I don't see arch rivals in their respective industries. You need the rivalry of sponsors to drive the money to drive the sport.
      Malou H
      • 2 Years Ago
      Get back on TV (and i don't mean time laps recaps) Get rid of the Porsche cup (you remember the tenants who were staying "just for a while" but now live with you) Solidification of class (i hate reading about 10new classes every yearpick 4) SP GT2 RLX LMP2 and callit a night. And it will be great. Other wise keep them separate. They arent even the same fan base..i have a feeling of 5 more years of awkwardness
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