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Vanessa

2014 Merged Series Named

United SportsCar Racing It Is

Finally, The Reveal has been revealed, or as emcee Bob Varsha stole from yours truly, There Veal. 

In 2014, the new series will be called United SportsCar Racing. 

 IMSA will continue as the sanctioning body (with a mildly updated logo).

The class structure, which was previously announced, was solidified, this time with names:

Prototype - P2, DP, Delta Wing
PC
GTLM - ALMS GT
GT Daytona - GA GT, ALMS GTC
GX

Note the presence of Le Mans naming in the GTLM class – this is an obvious hint that a tie in with the ACO will continue.  ALMS CEO Scott Atherton expects the formalization of an agreement to be announced soon.  As has been in the past, the intention is to use the ACO regs as a guide, but not necessarily the regs that will be in place.  Evaluations have taken place on track, but mostly through simulations.  The goal, which is an imposing one, is to balance not just the lap times but also the capabilities of two very different classes – DP and P2.  That is very much a discussion that has been taking place and continues with the technical committee. 

Like all of the announcements concerning the upcoming merger that will take place starting in 2014, this announcement was pretty much just the names.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Questions were asked, specifically concerning the future schedule and upcoming regulations – the answer was basically to stay tuned…  The problem is boiling down what is a 22 event, 17 venue schedule between the two series into a workable schedule come 2014.  There will be some casualties moving into the future – there has to be.

A by-product of the schedule is car counts.  Atherton stated that given what he considers a reasonable expectation of a grid size similar to what two series have now combined, coupled with maybe a few new competitors could prove to be a good problem to have.  What the expected large car counts could do is cause some rethinks on the future schedule.  Lime Rock anyone?

Budgets is a concern for the competitors.  While a schedule that includes 24 hours at Daytona, 12 hours at Sebring, 10ish hours at Petit, 6 hours at Laguna, 6 hours at Watkins Glen and who knows what else could really be a problem.  Doing some quick math, Starworks team owner Peter Baron figures that a schedule including comprising of these races could add another million dollars to his costs to compete a full season in DP, a 50% increase.  That could be a big issue moving on into the future of sportscar racing here in North America.

Personally, “TheReveal” did not really live up to the hype.  As an announcement, it was fine, but I sense there was a strong undercurrent of “hmmm… that’s all that there was” after the announcement.  In general, the feeling around Sebring, normally a very upbeat place, is one of concern.  Most people recognize that something had to give – neither series was going to prosper, current state.  While I’d like to say there is a feeling of confidence about the future here at the track, I’d be wrong if I stated that.  The general feeling here is one of hope that this will be done right, countered by a gut feeling that it likely won’t.  I really hope that this feeling is proven to be wrong.

Gary Horrocks