ATHERTON: GT PRO AND AM CLASSES FOR NEXT YEAR? Jury is still out, he says. 'Don't fix it if it's not broken' One of the big pieces of news last week from Le Mans was the elimination of the GT1 class from ACO-sanctioned endurance racing starting...
ATHERTON: GT PRO AND AM CLASSES FOR NEXT YEAR?
Jury is still out, he says. 'Don't fix it if it's not broken'
One of the big pieces of news last week from Le Mans was the elimination of the GT1 class from ACO-sanctioned endurance racing starting in 2011. Instead, the governing body of the Le Mans 24 Hours will focus on a single GT. It's much the same structure currently in place in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
"It's another example of the ACO frankly following our lead," Series President and CEO Scott Atherton told SPEED at Le Mans. "We made that decision about a year that we were just going to recognize GT2."
Through three rounds, it's shown to be a wise move. GT fields are regularly well into double-digits with six manufacturers and eight full-season entrants. Nine cars have led races in GT through three rounds.
For 2011, the ACO will rename GT2 to GT Endurance (although the 2009-spec rules will remain in place). GT Endurance will be divided into two sub- classes - GT Endurance PRO (professional category) and GT Endurance AM (for varying skill level of drivers and cars more than one year old).
"We haven't decided yet if we're going to incorporate that - the reason being that we have spectacular GT racing in the Series," Atherton said. "We also have the benefit of the GT Challenge class (for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars) that is working very well. From our perspective, it's a matter of don't fix it if it's not broken."
Atherton also told Radio Le Mans' John Hindhaugh that fans should expect additional manufacturers for the GT Challenge class in the future. Audi is one of the more widely rumored marques with Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich even telling RLM recently that he would welcome having the Audi R8 LMS be eligible for the class as soon as 2011.
The next race for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. The two-hour, 45-minute race is set for 2:35 p.m. MT on Sunday, July 11 from Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. SPEED will air the race live at 4:30 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be available on American Le Mans Radio presented by Porsche - a production of Radio Show Limited - as well as Sirius Channel 127 and XM Channel 242. Visit the Series' schedule page for ticket and accommodation information. Live Timing and Scoring, track schedule, entry list and much, much more will be available on Racehub at americanlemans.com.