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ALMS History

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ALMS History

Post  Ex US Squid on Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:00 pm

The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is the world’s premier sports car racing series. The 10-race championship is a venue for the planet’s largest auto and tire manufacturers to go head-to-head on legendary circuits, piloted by the sport’s most respected drivers and teams. The Series gives fans non-stop action on track and an open and friendly paddock, while providing manufacturers with a real-life laboratory to push the limits of automotive innovation and technology.Recent technology breakthroughs in the Series have focused on the environment. As the Global Leader in Green Racing, we contest the race to tomorrow … faster. Examples include development of biofuels, hybrid technology and tire compounds, plus more efficient auto engineering that carries over to dealership showrooms.

Since 1923, the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans has served as a test bed for both man and machine. Each June, the small French town of Le Mans plays host to the endurance classic that has spurred some of the most significant auto advancements in history. Seventy-five years after the first Le Mans, Dr. Don Panoz breathed new life into American sports car racing by launching the American Le Mans Series in 1999. The series was created by Braselton, Georgia-based businessman Don Panoz and ran its first season in 1999.[4] Panoz created a partnership with the Automobile Club de L'Ouest (ACO), the organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to begin a 10-hour race in the spirit of Le Mans, dubbed the Petit Le Mans. The inaugural Petit Le Mans took place in 1998 as a part of the Professional SportsCar Racing series, in which Panoz was an investor. For 1999, the series changed its name to the American Le Mans Series, and adopted the ACO's rulebook.

The partnership with the ACO allows ALMS teams to earn automatic entries in the Le Mans 24 Hours. This was a practice that began with the inaugural Petit Le Mans, a practice that continues today, where 1st and 2nd place teams in each class earn entries to the next year's 24 Hours. The ALMS race at Adelaide in 2000 also received automatic entries.[5] Invitations were extended to the series champions beginning in 2003, for the 2004 race.[6] The ACO has always given high consideration to teams competing in ALMS races, and many ALMS teams have seen success in the 24 Hours. The series began with eight races in 1999, beginning with the 12 Hours of Sebring, and ending at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The schedule expanded to 12 races in 2000, including two races in Europe, and one in Australia. In subsequent years, the European races disappeared, with the creation of the short-lived European Le Mans Series, and later the Le Mans Series. The series also began to move away from the rovals, road courses in the infield of large superspeedways, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, and Texas Motor Speedway. Lately, the series has visited more temporary street courses, many in conjunction with the Indy Racing League, at cities such as St. Petersburg, Florida and Long Beach, California. The series has raced at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Mosport, Road Atlanta and Sebring in every year of its existence. Since 2011, Labor Day weekend, they've visited Baltimore, Maryland for a street circuit race.

The series was the first motorsport racing series in North America to be recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA), the United States Department of Energy and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) as a "Green Racing Series", and is planned to hold an all-new series implemented on series races dedicated to the environment by holding their first-ever Green Challenge during the 2008 Petit Le Mans and would continue at least up to the entire 2009 season.

In 2010 the American Le Mans Series signed its first title sponsorship agreement, with Tequila Patrón becoming a presenting sponsor for three seasons. On September 5, 2012. The series announced that they will be merging with Grand-Am Road Racing. Both series will stay current in 2013 and will have a combined series in 2014.

The American Le Mans Series uses essentially the same rules as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, there are 3 primary classes, though there are 2 extra "Challenge classes" using standardized cars. Purpose-built race cars with closed fenders compete in the Prototype classes P1, P2, and P-Challenge) (PC) and modified production sports cars compete in the Grand Touring classes GT (GTE-Pro and GTE-Am combined, formerly GT2) along with GT-Challenge or GTC. The former GT1 category was abandoned after 2009 season. In 2012, the "Le Mans" (LM) was dropped from the names of the prototype categories.

Each car is driven by multiple drivers (2 or 3, depending on the length of the race), and all cars compete together simultaneously. P1 generally contains factory teams while P2 contains privateer teams. In ACO-sanctioned racing all of the drivers are professional in GTE-PRO, while in GTE-Am, 1 or 2 amateurs are allowed to race with a professional driver in support. However since ALMS uses only one GTE category and combines the PRO/AM classes, there are no limitations for drivers.

The two "Challenge" classes are formula-based, and are designed for privateers or rookies to have an easier time entering the series. Currently, the Challenge classes use the Oreca FLM09 (P) and the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (GT), though there are reports that the ACO may open the Challenge class to other manufacturers in 2013 or later.

The team points champions and runners-up in each class at the end of the season receive an automatic invitation to the next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.


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Ex US Squid
Ex US Squid

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