Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Friday, September 7, 2012

And Then There Was One

TAMMY: An earthquake rocked the racing world this week: As of 2014, the American Le Mans Series and the Grand American Road Racing Series--the two premier sportscar racing series in the United States--will become one.

Let's look at what we sportscar racing fans stand to gain:
  1. Wide-open track choice. ALMS GT battle at Watkins Glen? NASCAR at Road Atlanta? Bring it on.
  2. No more trying to pump up car-counts in either series with lower-level classes (the competition in ALMS Challenge classes has been good, but you didn't need them when you had a robust class of manufacturer prototypes).
  3. The first string of commentators. Love them all, but I really, really miss Leigh Diffey and Dorsey Schroeder.
  4. A solid roster of manufacturers in one place, not halfsies in both.
  5. One series to point to and say "this is the best sportscar racing in the world." (Yes, that's US-centric, I know, but I'll argue ALMS GT is the best in the world right now, so it's not a stretch.)
I've decided what we have here is another case of Fred and Ginger. You know what they said about them? He gave her class, and she gave him sex appeal. In this case, it's the ALMS with the class and Grand Am with the sex appeal (money and muscle). It's just possible that the merger of the two series--both of which have struggled for manufacturers, car counts, and fans--is going to be spectacular.

I just hope we really do get the best of both worlds, and not the worst. Simon, what are your thoughts? Are you optimistic or pessimistic?

SIMON: I'm actually happy about this because I think it will inject more competition. My issue with multi-class racing is that some classes end up with a handful of entries and it weakens the appeal, but the merger will make results a little harder to come by. Also with the bad economy, I think it makes it more cost effective to combine series so that the bad times aren't so apparent. Look at Euro F3 and there's just over a dozen entries. That series would benefit with merging with the British F3 series which also has small grids. I think over the last decade or so, motorsport has stretched itself a little thin with too much expansion. This merger is a step in the right direction.

What do you guys think?

1 comment:

  1. My only problem with this is that the Grand-Am prototypes are horrible cars to watch. If sports cars in the US turns into the spec racing of GA, then I'll tune out. I have zero interest in watching that. It's fine for Star Mazda, Formula Ford, but has no place in sports cars.