Other than the announcement back in September that the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series were merging, there have been precious few details as to how the newly combined series would shake out. Today, both entities helped clear things up a bit by announcing some of the new classification changes that will go into effect for the 2014 Rolex 24, changes that are confirmed through the 2015 season.

The names for the new classes (or the new series as a whole) have yet to be released, but the breakdown goes like this:
  • The ALMS P1 prototype class (pictured above) has been eliminated
  • Grand-Am Daytona Prototype and ALMS P2 classes will be merged
  • Nissan Deltawing will compete in this merged class
  • ALMS Prototype Challenge will remain a separate class
  • Grand-Am and ALMS GT classes will continue to run separate cars and classes
  • The future of the Grand-Am's new GX class sounds unsure after this year, with it either becoming part of the ALMS GT class or becoming its own separate class
Right off the bat, this suggests we will no longer see LMP1 cars like the Audi R18 TDI or Lola racecars in the US, though we still don't know what sort of rule changes there will be for the Prototype and GT classes (and we wouldn't be surprised to see these competitors end up in a different class). Despite losing the LMP1 cars (which currently runs hybrid and diesel racecars), both organizations look to include more "green technologies." We already know the new ALMS GX class will feature 2014 Mazda6 with a Skyactiv-D diesel engine under the hood.

For more information about the newly combined road racing series, check out the press release by scrolling below.
Show full PR text
GRAND-AM, ALMS Announce 2014 Class Structure

Organizations Taking Inclusionary, 'Best Of Both Worlds' Multi-Class Approach

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Underscoring the cooperative spirit of their merger announced last September, GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón today unveiled the initial concept for the organizations' unified competition class structure that will debut in January 2014 at the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The lineup – in effect for the 2014 and 2015 seasons – is based on a philosophy of inclusion. The majority of classes from both the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the ALMS will be retained with the exception of the ALMS' P1 prototype class.

Individual class names have yet to be determined. The planned structure:
GRAND-AM's DP and the ALMS' P2 classes will combine into one, headlining prototype class that also will include the revolutionary DeltaWing prototype, with performance of the cars balanced to maintain close competition.

The ALMS' Prototype Challenge (PC) class for spec prototypes will continue to run as a separate class.

Both of the organizations' production-based GT classes will continue as separate, distinct categories based on performance, preserving each class' proud history and loyal fan following. As part of this plan, the ALMS' GTC cars will join the GRAND-AM GTs.
GRAND-AM's new GX class, which is debuting at this year's Rolex 24 later this month, is being explored as a possible addition to the GRAND-AM half of the GT mix in 2014-15. There also is the possibility that GX will run separately as a fifth class.

Specifications for all classes still are being determined and will be announced later this year. In addition, there will be continued discussion regarding the increasing inclusion of green technologies in the new unified series.

"This is a 'best of both worlds' approach that reflects the fact we have a true merger evolving on a daily basis," said GRAND-AM Managing Director of Competition Richard Buck.

"And this announcement is only a first step in solidifying our class structure. Our organizations' respective competition departments are working diligently on balance of performance for the top prototype class, plus overall class specifications across the board.

"This process is not being rushed. We are carefully gathering input from drivers, teams and stakeholders throughout the sports car industry, emphasizing inclusion, as we work toward a simple – but also complex – goal: we want to get it right the first time."

Added International Motor Sports Association and ALMS Chief Operating Officer Scot Elkins: "Numerous important partners and stakeholders have been invaluable during this process. We could not have reached these decisions as rapidly as we did without that assistance. Many factors were taken into consideration for this initial conceptual lineup, but the priority was to enable as many current competitors as possible to continue racing with their existing equipment.

"We also want to thank the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) for its input as we strive to maintain the important ability of teams to qualify for and race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bummer. I was really looking forward to watching the new Porsche P1 car. The dumbing down of sports car racing has begun.
      • 2 Years Ago
      So they ditch LMP1 which is faster than DP which was Grand-Am's baby. So they as in The France Family get rid of the one thing that would still tie this series to the LeMans series over in Europe directly yeah good job! While the other classes I expected as much since there is over lap this elimination to me is a downer. In a perfect world I would not of minded seeing LMP1, DP and LMP2 classes all race at the same time and then in a separate race have all the GT cars race. Oh well I'm not in charge.
      Kuro Houou
      • 2 Years Ago
      So they eliminated the most fun and fastest cars that people actually want to see? That makes a lot of sense....
      • 2 Years Ago
      LMP1 was the connection to European prototype sports car racing. Without it, we're left with the 'kit cars' of Grand Am.
      Ryan Rogers
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was on board with the merger....until now. The ALMS P1 class was the main reason I was watching. I like the GT cars and all, but nothing beats watching the TDI Audis pound around the track.
      Nathan Zylla
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love ALMS. I even drive three states to go to a race..but after this year..starting in 2014..hmm..i'll give them a year..before i start bashing. All i really want to do is watch the European Le Mans, So far i haven't found any great places to watch it! any suggestions?
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is not a suprise. The NASCAR group has always sought to keep the influence of the factories weak. LMP1 would mean huge factory involvement if you expect machinery like the Audis and therefore they would gain more power over the series. If you doubt this, look what happened to the AMA Superbike series after DMG took over. The factories teams packed up except for Yamaha. This is the way they do business and it indicates who has the power. That being said, I will watch because some of the racing will be interesting. The days of european prototypes competing at Daytona are long gone.
      Hal Jordan
      • 2 Years Ago
      No LMP1? I think somebody needs to ask, "why?" and push for a real answer, not a fake official answer. It's very easy to jump to the conclusion that Grand Am Rolex doesn't like the LMP1 class because it's the cream of the crop. It makes the DP look pale in comparison. In fact, I'm guessing that the DP wouldn't compare to a LMP2 car either, so maybe this is a wrong assumption? Obviously, I'll watch the races anyway, but man, it sure sucks that we won't be able to root for an ALMS LMP1 "home team" at Le Mans.
      • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Never on board with the merger, and this LMP1 class elimination reaffirms my trepidation about this merger. Stinks all the way. ALMS was the pinnacle of sports car racing in America. Merging with Grand Am creates a "Grand Stinker." Much like the merger of ChampCar and Indy. I quit watching American open-wheel when ChampCar died, and looks like sports cars will get the same treatment.
      • 2 Years Ago
      While I agree with the sentiment of disappointment over the loss of LMP1, I will give them the benefit of the doubt as to the reasons we may not be hearing. P1 is the world class of sports cars and only really rivaled by F1, I think over time it will be dearly missed and seen as a mistake. On the current hand however, very few P1 cars did the whole season and when Audi, Toyota or Peugeot showed up, they killed the other P1 cars. Simply put, their just weren't enough cars to really justify the class. Yes Audi and Porsche have new cars they are going to introduce but I'm not sure either were going to race in NA full time: and I have no idea what Toyota was going to do. Anyway you slice it, this is a huge loss for race fans and for technology in the auto sector here in NA. DP cars, while cool in their own right, are not sophisticated machines and yes this is a statement about 'dumbing' down the racing. As for GT, the only problem I ever saw was having certain cars and makes competing together. Maybe I'm a snob and sometimes proven wrong but Mustangs do not compete with 911's. I hope this all works out, I have my doubts, but I will give them time to work it out and see where the chips fall.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Well said, though my greatest disappointment remains this entire merger, my 2nd greatest is at the loss of LMP1 cars. I regret this merger and wish it could be undone. IMHO the American Lemans Series brought a lot of class to automotive racing here in America, something we need. I'll be one more fan lost if "Good Ol' Boy" hoonery takes over. We already have a series for that...
          • 2 Years Ago
          Unfortunately you are right SteveM. Time will prove this out but I will leave that 1% chance that this will turn out OK but I just don't think so and you nailed it on the head with the "Good Ol' Boy" hoonery takes over" comment. That's my question for the rest of you: I'm no fan of NASCAR, I don't hate like some and I respect why people like it and would never tell you not too but, for the rest of us, why do some Americans just love the idea of low tech/old tech when it comes to this type of sport? I think if your idea that the best racing of all time has happened already is some forgotten past decade you' re fooling yourself. It's the best thing to move on to new and better things, admire the past, it's people and their accomplishments and put it in it's place in the museum where it belongs. Move on!
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you have not had dealings with NASCAR, you can not comprehend their ignorance and stupidity. They know deep inside they are stupid, so they circle the wagons and protect themselves from the possibility of someone capable taking their job. Don't believe me or think that I have an ax to grind? Just call them up. Ask them how you can get a copy of the cup car rules. They do not allow you to see what the rules are! They will ask why you want to know! Idiots from top to bottom! They do not understand the mentality of sports car fans. The Daytona Prototype class would be dead if it were not financially subsidized by NASCAR. They have no idea what they are doing and I think this is a ploy to get rid of a competing series so they can be the only game in town for pro sports car racing. I predict a boring, spec class game.... They do not want competition for their 2nd class series and they want to pick the winners and losers in their racing.
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