ALMS Changes Class Structure for 2010

I thought I would post Tony’s story here for our discussion of the topic. The ALMS has decided to change its class structure for 2010. While we sort of knew this would going to have to happen as teams dropped out of classes leaving them with no competitors, I am interested in it’s reversion for two race back to ACO standard classes and the amalgamation of the LMP classes.

By Tony DiZinno –

Confirming weeks and rumors of speculation, on Sunday morning the American Le Mans Series announced a class structure change in advance of the 2010 season. The series maintains a four-class structure but has made regulations adjustments to allow for a single main prototype class, a main Grand Touring class, and ladder classes within the series for both divisions.

All changes have been agreed upon and supported by the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO), the sanctioning body for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and establishes the rules for Le Mans-style racing worldwide.

The four classes for 2010 are as follows: Le Mans Prototype (LMP), Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC), Grand Touring (GT), and Grand Touring Challenge (GTC).

There will still be two prototype classes but a more substantial difference within the two. LMP will allow for all current manufacturers and models currently competing in ALMS P1 and P2 to combine in a single class.

The Le Mans Prototype Challenge class (LMPC), which will be a single-supplier platform for prototypes with lesser room for adjustments. The LMPC class will run to specifications outlined by the ACO. It will basically resemble the Formula Le Mans class that ran as a support to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans class.

GT and GTC are in essence the same as this year’s classes, both undergoing name changes. GT is no longer GT2 and GTC is no longer the ALMS Challenge class. The GTC class will allow for more models of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars to race, besides the ones that compete in the Patron GT3 Challenge that have been allowed to compete this year.

ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton held roughly a one-hour press conference with members of the media this morning, outlining the changes and their details, with a bevy of new information released from Atherton, series vice president and technical director Scot Elkins, and series participants.

Within the press release put out this morning, Atherton said it is vital to stay on the cutting edge of evolution within Le Mans series style racing and there are important members on board with the new developments.

“We intend to stay ahead of the rest of the industry,” Atherton stated. “We are the first movers to embrace a value-based new set of classes while at the same time retaining the core elements of what has made the American Le Mans Series the benchmark
professional sportscar racing series in modern times. The automotive industry is going through radical changes, and the same can be said for most of the motorsports industry. With today’s announcement we are adding value-based opportunities that expand accessibility to a broader base of competitors, manufacturers and teams.”

What do you think? Is this a good idea? Something had to happen but what benefits or challenges does this present given the classes and cars competing? Post your thoughts below.

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