Privateers to receive new recognition, awards in 2002

BRASELTON, Ga. (January 25, 2002) -- The American Le Mans Series has created a multi-faceted new awards system that will recognize and honor the achievements of non-factory supported racing teams in the 2002 season. The IMSA Cup, named in honor...

BRASELTON, Ga. (January 25, 2002) -- The American Le Mans Series has created a multi-faceted new awards system that will recognize and honor the achievements of non-factory supported racing teams in the 2002 season.

The IMSA Cup, named in honor of the sanctioning body of the series, will include individual race awards as well as a season-long championship. Also, the popular Privateer Point Fund in the series will be included in the IMSA Cup and will be revised as a way of placing earned cash awards into the hands of privateer racing teams sooner.

In addition to racing for overall race wins and class wins as they always have in American Le Mans Series events, privateer teams will now also compete among themselves for the IMSA Cup. Smaller versions of a unique IMSA Cup trophy will be presented to the highest-finishing privateer team in each class in every race.

Privateer teams will also compete for the IMSA Cup Championship, which will be presented to the highest-finishing privateer team in the point standings for each class at the season-ending awards banquet.

The revision of the award fund for privateer teams will see the fund broken into three segments with cash payouts to deserving teams after the third, sixth and final races of the 10-event American Le Mans Series schedule in 2002. Previously, the awards were paid in a lump sum to the teams at the end of the season. The awards totaled more than $1 million in the 2001 season.

"This restructuring is taking a great program to the next level," said Dennis Huth, President of IMSA. "By receiving the awards in segments during the season, we feel that the privateer teams will be getting a big boost that will help them be even more competitive."

The fund was designed by ALMS founder Don Panoz as a way of financially rewarding non-factory supported racing teams that compete on the series. A percentage of each race purse goes into the fund, as does any prize money that is not paid in each race. Factory-supported teams do not receive prize money in the series, and the money that would have been paid to those teams is transferred into the IMSA Cup fund.

At the end of each segment, all points earned by all privateer teams in the ALMS are combined and totaled. The total is then divided into the total IMSA Cup prize money accumulated in the fund to that point, assigning a dollar value to each point. Payment equal to the number of points times the dollars per point is distributed to the eligible privateer teams at the end of each segment.

The 2002 American Le Mans Series season begins March 16 with the 50th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Dodge, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.

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Series ALMS
Drivers Don Panoz