Reactions from teams, tracks and manufacturers on ALMS/Grand-Am merger

Bobby Rahal, One of the BMW RLL team owners : “As we’ve seen in Indy car racing, this is nothing but great news for the sport, for the teams and for the fans. It’s a huge win for racing in general and sports car racing in particular. I commend Jim France and Don Panoz for finding a way to come together and doing what is best for the sport. I think that with the combined schedules, the might of ISC’s marketing and the types of circuits we can focus on, it couldn’t be any better for a series. I’m very, very enthused and excited about it and looking forward to seeing it all come together.”

Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing: "This is an epic moment for sports car racing in America," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. "The opportunity to take the best of ALMS and GRAND AM and create a strong, unified professional road racing series is what the fans have wanted, the teams have wanted, and the manufacturers have wanted for many years. We at Ford congratulate the GRAND AM and ALMS leadership and all those involved in helping put the merger together for the good of the sport.

"While we await further details on the homologations and rules for the individual classes, the new, unified approach has a lot of appeal to Ford due to the potential international alignment. We are a global auto manufacturer, and will look for this new series to align well with our global OneFord platform of vehicles and technologies. As a manufacturer and stakeholder in the sport overall, we look forward to working with the new unified management team to frame our involvement going forward."

#05 CORE Autosport: Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun
#05 CORE Autosport: Jonathan Bennett, Colin Braun

Photo by: Richard Sloop

Jon Bennett, owner and founder, CORE autosport: “On behalf of CORE autosport, I would like to congratulate all parties that were involved in this historic sports car merger to create a unified series in 2014. It took the cooperation of true visionaries to create one strong new series out of the American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM. The positives that will emerge from this unification will be felt by teams, drivers, sponsors, partners and most importantly, fans. The entire CORE autosport organization looks forward to continuing sports car competition at the highest level, and adding to our team and driver championships.”

Rob Dyson, Team Principal, Dyson Racing: "The history of sports car racing in America has centered around sophisticated performance and innovation. Dyson Racing has raced top-line prototypes for three decades and the variety of technology and competitors during that period has defined the sport and produced the memories that sustain its growth today and propel its future. We anticipate that this historic merger will produce sports car racing that embraces the diversity that has made our racing a fan favorite, with world-wide legitimacy. There are currently twelve auto and engine manufactures plus four tire manufactures in our series. We expect the newly combined series will produce an even more enhanced arena of value for manufacturers and privateers alike."

This combination has the potential to be a significant milepost in the history of sports car racing.

Chris Dyson

Chris Dyson, Vice President and Sporting Director, Dyson Racing: "The best mergers strengthen. This combination has the potential to be a significant milepost in the history of sports car racing and to foster a period reminiscent of our sport's glory days. The addition of GRAND-AM's historic tracks to IMSA's existing set of iconic tracks will only reinforce the appeal to fans, competitors and manufacturers. We are optimistic that with a continued emphasis on technical advancement, variety, high levels of on-track performance, close competition and a welcoming paddock atmosphere, unified sports car racing in North America is about to enter a new era - one of long term strength. There are always challenges involved with change, but Dyson Racing will continue to work with all in our sport to ensure the strongest possible future."

Alex Job, Team owner, Alex Job Racing: "We have been racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and International Motorsports Association (IMSA) since our inception as a team in 1988," Job said. "We have also raced with GRAND-AM in both the Daytona Prototype and GT categories. It will be interesting to see how the philosophy of ALMS and their association with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) translates to GRAND-AM and their relationship with NASCAR. "

"Personally, I like the manufacturer involvement, technology and differing tire combinations in the ALMS. In GRAND-AM, I can appreciate the willingness to control costs and level the playing field. However, I also like the thought of competing at the Le Mans 24 Hours with the same car that I am competing with here in the United States. Endurance racers are a resilient bunch. It appears that the group in Daytona are going to give themselves 18-months to forge a sturdy business and technical plan. This has been a long time coming. I am looking forward to going to the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona in January of 2014 and then to Sebring for the 12 Hour a month-and-a-half later like the old days."

Joie Chitwood, President of Daytona International Speedway
Joie Chitwood, President of Daytona International Speedway

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

DIS President Joie Chitwood III: “This is a very special day for the sport and an incredibly exciting time as we look ahead. I applaud the leadership of both organizations for this bold move that ultimately benefits the great fans of sports car racing in the North America. I am especially pleased to have Daytona International Speedway host the 2014 Rolex 24 – the first unified race of this new sports car series.”

Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer: "We congratulate and celebrate this historic merger of North American sports car racing. It has created an even more exciting future for this thrilling form of motorsports, which was met with a very enthusiastic reception from our fans during the IMS debut of GRAND-AM in July."

Mark Reuss, President, GM North America: “This is an exciting moment in sports car racing. This merger combines the best attributes of GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series to create a singularly focused series. Congratulations to Jim France and Dr. Don Panoz on having the passion for sports car racing and the vision to take it to the next level. The joining of these two series will provide a foundation for Chevrolet to develop technologies and race cars with tremendous relevancy to the production vehicles we sell today and in the future.”

Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC: "Congratulations to both leadership teams for unifying their efforts to create what will certainly be an amazing new series featuring outstanding sports car competition at some of the most legendary race courses. From a factory team perspective and with our recent return to the track with our new SRT Viper GTS-R, we're looking forward to working together to make this new series the best in the world for our teams, sponsors and all fans at the track or watching from home."

Honda has participated in sports car racing, under a variety of sanctioning bodies and formats, since the mid-1980s.

Art St. Cyr

Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development: “In much the same way as unification provided a way forward for open-wheel racing, today’s news announcing the merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am has the potential to grow and improve the sport.

"Honda has participated in sports car racing, under a variety of sanctioning bodies and formats, since the mid-1980s. As a company, we have always sought out series where races and championships could be won – or lost – on engineering merit. Since 2007, we have been continuous participants in the American Le Mans Series under both the Acura and Honda Performance Development banners. HPD is the reigning American Le Mans Series LMP champion, having won class titles for the past three years.

"In 2012, HPD and its partner teams continue to take part in both LMP1 and LMP2 in the American Le Mans Series; and launched an ambitious multi-team prototype effort in the World Endurance Championship. We look forward to taking part in a new, combined North American road-racing series, featuring a defined rules package that maintains sports car racing’s traditional role as a technological leader and innovator.”

Eric Bachelart,Team Principal - Conquest Endurance: "This is exciting news to everyone in the sports car world. I'm happy to see that the two series have decided to take their time and make sure the process of unification is completed in the best possible way, so that it gives teams, sponsors, drivers and promoters time to prepare and to adjust to the new unified series. Obviously there's still a lot that we don't know, specially the major details that will have the most impact in a team like Conquest Endurance. I hope that the decision makers of the new unified series will consult with the teams as they make these tough decisions so that we make sure that the best components of every series are carried on after 2014."

Stephen Hooks, APR Motorsport President and CEO: "The merger announcement is a great moment for sports car racing and one that we are excited about at APR Motorsport. A single, strong series will be great for the health of the sport and good for the teams and sponsors, but most importantly, for the fans and spectators of sports car racing. The powers that be still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do, but the new series will have the best of what both current series have to offer - exciting cars, great racing, and great tracks."

Jeff Mishtawy, APR Director of Motorsport: "The merger has the potential to be the best thing that's happened to sports car racing in North America. This will lead big fields of racing, a strong schedule with the best tracks and events currently available, and a new technical framework for the GT classes which we are excited about. We have devoted a lot of time and resources to developing the Audi R8 for the Rolex Series GT class and are looking forward to continuing with this car in the new series. This will be a great thing for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series, which offers the best value and some of the best racing currently in North America."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Teams Dyson Racing , Alex Job Racing , CORE autosport
Article type Press conference
Tags ajr, alms, belskus, bennett, business, chevorlet, chitwood, daytona, dyson, ford, grandam, honda, indianapolis, job, rahal, srt