Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just beyond the half way point....

In Sports Car Racing, the half way point is usually Le Mans in a season. However that's not quite the case. The ILMC has 3 events left (Silverstone, Petit Le Mans, China). The ALMS has 5 events left (Mid-Ohio, Road America, Baltimore, Laguna Seca, Petit Le Mans). International GT Open 4 events (A1/Red Bull Ring, Portimao, Monza and Barcelona).

The FIA/SRO series have 3,2 and 2 events left between its three biggest series.

In any case we're far from finish and Championships are far from settled. But some news about 2012 is starting to trickle out. LMS recently announced it will drop LMP1 cars from its Pan-Euro series and add a ALMS-type GTC class but expanding it to include Ferrari Challenge cars. This is sort of a problem Ferrari Challenge Teams and a boon ($$$) for Michelotto who must develop an aero package for these cars since FC cars have no aero package to start with. Why not just allow the Grand Am version of the Ferrari F458 GT3 car???

For the ALMS I think this gives them the opening to make the changes they need to stay relevant. Grand Am was able to talk Michelotto into building a Grand Am spec car for the series. Thus far its only been Michelotto who builds these race cars for Ferrari that has committed to the new cars. Audi and Benz are being talked too, but I think they are in a wait and see what the ALMS does.

This is the time for the ALMS to be aggressive and allow FIA spec GT3 cars in GTC. You won't have to change anything or built special models These cars are only slightly more than Porsche Cup S cars which make up the GTC field now.

There some grumbling among the fan base that BMW leaving the ALMS is all but a done deal because of their commitment to DTM and DTM coming to America. They think because DTM is backed by the current Grand Am brain trust that this will automatically succeed and put the ALMS on the defensive. I say is WAY too early to make those assumptions and also know that by BMW dropping F1 can run several series and still not come up to the budget they spent on F1 every season.

They get vastly more value out of running GT cars and DTM than just F1 alone.

We can count on at least 99% of the current field of GT cars/teams to return in 2012. Beyond that, its anybody's guess, but I think BMW and Jaguar are SAFE for the moment. That means 16-17 cars per event and about 8-9 car battle for the podium = GREAT!

The problem is the drop off in the prototype classes. One part of me says drop Prototypes all together including LMPC and just run GT cars. You would have fields of 30-35 cars every event and if you have seen FIA GT3 or International GT Open races I have posted on my blog, you'll see its close, hard fought racing with very little domination by one car or one team.

FIA GT3 has seen the biggest growth in the past few seasons and continues to grow. This is the time to make the change and make it stick. I personally don't care if you keep LMP2 and LMPC as these classes will always be in the single digits. But I think when it drops to only two cars, it time to kill it, we did it with GT1 a season before the ACO did it, but we did it.

Making hard choices is why I have continued to support the ALMS.

Memo to Scott Elkins -

If you do nothing else but open GTC to FIA spec GT3 cars, it will move the series forward. It will increase fan support, you'll hear less about the availability of the "Stream" and the product or action on track will be BETTER if that's even possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Recent Comments