Saturday, September 28, 2013

First Non-Racing Post : My Next New Car

 This site is not just about racing, so I think its about time to talk a bit about what else will be happening around here.

 Firstly I will be buying a new car soon. There's still a possibility that I may pursue a cheap used car to use as a project, but for right now I need a new ride for other reasons that I will not cover on this blog but my other one, not ready to link to that yet.

 What new cars did I have in mind? 

 Well based on my old car which was a '03 Dodge Neon SRT-4 that I had upgraded to Stage 3R (larger turbo, injectors, fuel pump, high output mode and intercooler water sprayers) but ran the best of 12.74@104.7 on the stock turbo, stage one PCM/injectors, 3" turbo-back exhaust, 16psi of boost and 23" tall slicks.

  • I wanted a car that was turbocharged, especially if it has a small engine.
  • Payment 15% of Income 
  • Cheap to insure and Cheap on Gas

 That has narrow the choice down to two cars -

 2014 Chevy Sonic LT w/optional 1.4L Turbocharged Engine

2014 Ford Fiesta ST (Standard Equipment)

 On first glance this might not seem fair or even equal. Sure the Fiesta ST is engineered (in Europe) from day one to be a performance car, some say the best performance value available. With sharp handling and 197hp, its hard to argue.

 However the Sonic presents the best balance of price and performance in a standard compact car. There is always much more in a factory turbocharged engine. The engineers at GM say the 1.4L Direct Fuel Injection Turbo engine is capable of over 200hp at the crank, which has been cracked by enthusiast already.

 An automatic Sonic has gone 14.3@96 on drag radials.


 The fastest known Sonic does 13.7@97 on drag radials (6 speed) there's a video of it on YouTube but its the 14.2@97 run and the video quality is BAD (think cellphone).

 That's impressive for a stock engine with some mild tuning (pcm flash, exhaust, suspension mods and BFG drag radials). With a price of just over $17K with MyLink radio ($200) and 1.4L Turbo engine which includes an upgraded 6 speed manual transmission for $700 it doesn't handle quite as well as the Fiesta does off the showroom floor. There are teams actively racing the Sonic 1.8L car in America and those parts can be used, however that would result in a very harsh ride for normal street use.

 The sporty model of the Sonic line up is the RS. Which has all the bells and whistles of the top of the line LTZ model but has 1" lower suspension and differently valved struts for better handling. It also comes with some nice looking 17" wheels and accordingly the price goes up to about $19K.

 Given I am the type of person that buys his own wheels and tires, there's no need to buy the larger factory wheels since they tend to be heavy and that hurts overall performance. 

 There are street coilover kits available; meaning tuned for the street and some high performance driving, its spring rates are stiffer than stock but the struts are valved for a lowered ride height and with the collars you can slam the Sonic if you want.

Credit to Boosted Snail of the Sonic Owners Forum

 The Sonic's odd wheel pattern however limits my selection of wheels. Some have chosen to have aftermarket wheel re-drilled to fit the Sonic.

 But for maybe about $2,000 in upgrades I could have a Sonic that runs 13's, handles great, rides decently overall, cheap to insure and gets 40+ mpg as long as I keep my foot out of it.

 When it comes to the Fiesta ST however, you're starting with a sorted suspension, larger engine (1.6 vs 1.4) and larger turbocharger. It also has 17" wheels and an overboost function that tops out at 240 lbs of torque for 20 seconds. 

 However with Mountune USA finally getting their website up its only a matter of time when the UK parts for the European/UK version of the car (same engine, 3 doors) are approved for 50 State use and covered under Fords standard drivetrain warranty. Using a metric converter, 215PS is 211hp SAE. In Europe the ST has dyno'ed at around 177hp at the wheels (180PS) that looks like a 35hp increase over stock with just a pcm flash, fresh air pipe and K&N panel filter.

 Most of that is the engine re-calibration, likely running higher boost levels as well. Usually OEM's leave about 20% of possible power on the table because some people don't take good care of their cars. For the rest of us, we can benefit from the power left in the car. That is likely the limit of the stock exhaust system as it seems to be about 2psi more boost over stock. I think the stock turbo runs at 16psi.

 Anyway with a tune, intake and exhaust 225-230whp is more than possible on an otherwise stock engine. Not bad, that's where a stock SRT-4 was with about 700 lbs less weight. Should easily do mid to low 13's on slicks. But because of the gearing, it will get max around 37-38 mpg, while the Sonic even modified will still get 41-43 mpg at a decent speed (under 70 mph).

So its a tough choice.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

As I said GT-D will see the most movement (Updated)

 As Grand Am's final season (thankfully) comes to a close at Lime Rock which ironically won't be apart of the merged series next year, lots of news is coming out of both paddocks.

 Let's get started shall we...

  •  CORE Autosport will become the official factory Porsche team. No surprise there, John Bennett has spent big to impress Porsche (securing a new tub after the accident at Baltimore) and has a first class race shop in NASCAR country.

  • Falken Tires is likely to be the only other team to get a 991 series Porsche 911 GT3-RSR currently only running in WEC with Manthey. That means....

  • Paul Miller Racing may drop out of GTLM and into GT-D with another manufacturer. You'll notice on their website that they are also Audi and Bentley dealers. PMR says they have talked to both companies about a GT-D program and I know Bentley desperately wants to race in USCC next season.  This is because they are not likely to get one of the limited supply of Porsche 991 based GT3-RSR race cars next year.

  • Muehlner Motorsports America is said to have ordered a Porsche 911 Cup "America" from Porsche Motorsports North America. As I have said before this is a bad decision, but its based on their business model so no-shock there. When they are not as fast as the FIA GT3 based cars, they'll be looking for help from IMSA....

  • Park Place Motorsports also is said to have ordered a car, despite the likelihood of losing Pat Long to the Core Autosport program. 

 First a bit of a history lesson. See I have been following GT3 since its early days in Europe. Porsche thought one of its normal Cup cars with TCS added (ABS has been on the Super Cup cars since the mid 2000's) would be competitive. Initially it did but as the other cars became more reliable, the Ford GT then built by Matech became the dominate car. 

 So much so, the SRO/FIA tried to slow it down. They ended up winning all three championships anyway (Teams, Driver's and Manufacturer's). I believe that was 2007. In 2008 Matech returned but they were no longer dominate. This time it was the Corvette Z06R built by Callaway Competition Germany.

 At this point the SRO and FIA were still trying to balance the different makes; the dominate makes at this point were the Audi R8 LMS, Matech Ford GT and Callaway Corvette. Audi had race victories but no championships (not in the European series) while Matech and then Callaway had taken the championships. Then in 2009 Audi finally got serious about its R8 LMS program. Porsche tired of not getting even race wins, came back with a modified Cup car, called the GT3-R 

 The moral of this story is two fold.

 1) The Porsche was missing the the downforce the other cars enjoyed. That's why the GT3-R has much more rear tire, much bigger rear wing and front splitter. Now they started to win races not only in FIA GT3 but when the GT1 series switchover to GT3 cars in 2012 (at Zolder).  I think they might have even won the FIA GT3 Championship in 2011 but I have to check that.

 The point is Porsche needed to add downforce and more rear mechanical grip to be competitive with the other GT3 cars. The America will not be competitive. They might be okay at Daytona, but when they start hitting the twisty tracks on the schedule they'll go crying to Scot Elkins for a competition adjustment.

 2) Porsche' team of factory drivers will be very busy. Wolf Henzler is likely to continue with Team Falken. Its likely Paul Miller Racing will no longer require the services of Marco Holzer. He might be assigned to the Core Autosport Porsche effort along with Pat Long who is already with the team. Other drivers with previous track knowledge in America will become very valuable to Core's efforts.

 This leaves little resources for a team like Muehlner and the lack of overall pace will show up on-track.

 But wait there's more - 

 JDX, Flying Lizard and Alex Job are also close to confirming Porsche America efforts. That puts about half of the current GTC paddock in Porsches. Out of the regular runners, that leaves NGT/Momo and Dempsey yet to confirm their plans for 2014.

 That is leading to some consternation over in Europe that P2 teams might not be invited to Daytona/Sebring season opening races. Given what I just said you can understand because it looks like GT-D will be at capacity or over-capacity.

 If we go with current combined numbers as stated here that's about 20 cars expected for the entire season not just the NEC (North American Endurance Championship).

 Let's count....

  1. Alex Job, two cars (2)
  2. Flying Lizard, two cars (2)
  3. Muehlner, one car full season (1)
  4. JDX, one car (1)
  5. Park Place, one  car (1)
 That's seven confirmed or semi-confirmed efforts as reported by John Dagys of Sportscars365

 I think its safe to assume that half the twenty car field will be Porsche 911 GT3 Americas.

 The only non-Porsches seem to be those who currently don't own one. Out of all Rolex GT teams, that leaves Magnus Racing yet to confirm staying with Porsche. As mention, NGT/Momo and Dempsey are yet to say anything.

 As far a I know Fall-Line will be in the series and appear to be the only two car Audi effort in GT-D next season. It also looks like the Ferrari teams will continue, but Mike Hedlund who drives for JDX in the ALMS and the Extremespeed Ferrari of the now defunct Grand Am series has expressed disappointment in the rumor that GT-D (and LMPC) will be slowed down from its current pace in the ALMS.

 We'll know more as the official series testing will get underway in Nov, but I guess Elkins is assuming that even with the changes to the DP's, the P2's will have to be slowed down as well and since LMPC's with a pro driver are only about 2 seconds off P2 pace and already faster than DP's, they need to be slowed down.

 I guess its more about allowing GTLM cars to pass slower LMPC cars easier and all the cars to pass GT-D easier.

 I just don't understand it myself. I am going to assume that DP's will be able to get back some of the 5-6 seconds in pace they lack currently. But that might included slowing P2's down a bit with to gain that final 1-2 seconds.

 I don't see how you can do that and leave GTLM alone, slow down LMPC and GT-D as well. I guess since all the GTLM are factory ran or blessed, I guess it would prove more politically unpopular to slow them down just for TUSCC competition and have to reconfigure the cars for Le Mans.

 This is horrible PR move here if they slow down the Pro Am classes. Fans get excited about competitive teams, great racing and track records. If you're constantly dumbing it down to the lowest common denominator its going to offend quite a few fans from the ALMS side of things including me.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gnashing of Teeth - Fan Reaction to USCC Schedule

 Somehow I knew we wouldn't get through a complete day with the announcement of the long awaited 2014 USCC schedule; without the gnashing of teeth from some fans especially those not hosting a race at a nearby track.

 As I said in my previous post from all the information I gathered from sources around the web, I came up with the schedule I thought we would see and guess what? I was RIGHT!

 I had to make a small revision and move Laguna Seca to mid May and IMS to mid August, but I had the right number of venues and even some details about the split races.

 Enough patting myself on the back. I was hoping Mid Ohio was back on the schedule but its not, I know why and I guess if Mid Ohio wants to use a round of the USCC in the future they know what they need to do. This dilemma also faced Lime Rock a few years ago. There was rumblings that the series did not what to race there unless some improvements were made to the track itself. 

 Nonetheless Lime Rock is gone and you can read about why here

 I really wasn't shocked at the reaction to losing a couple of iconic circuits but saying because these track were off the schedule made it worse somehow is just emotional, magina garbage.

 There are legitimate reason why did add them and I covered some of these in previous post, but I don't mind repeating myself...

 1) Cost: The ALMS paddock is adding 30 hours of racing too its schedule and that does not include Le Mans which all of the factory teams will be going plus a few privateers.

 The Grand Am paddock is adding at least 22 hours as we don't know the time and race lengths for Laguna Seca which is often 4-6 hours or Road America which has been 500 miles/4 hours in the past as well.

 Teams are now getting budgets based on hours the car runs. The cars have become so bulletproof that many key parts don't need to be replaced unless damaged and some only after a certain number of hours have been run on it.

 If you remember Gunnar Jeannette father's team ran G-Oil recycled Synthetic Oil in its LMPC Chevy small block for the entire season and only opted for a refresh for Petit Le Mans because they had been losing hp over the course of the season, despite winning some races.

 That's just one example. 

 Ryan Dalziel and his team owner Peter Baron have both said carbon brakes which are on all the ALMS cars but GTC; the rotors can go for one complete season, while you're only replacing the pads for every race. That is a dramatic cost savings compared to the steel brakes Grand Am runs on all its cars.

  Again under cost, Grand Am DP team will be forced to upgrade their cars to get closer to LMP2 performance. The final specs have not been announced but according to Ricky Taylor who drives one of the DP Corvettes, it will consist of -

  •  Rear Carbon Diffuser
  •  Dual Element Rear Wing
  •  Longer splitter
  •  Paddle Shifting (available to Pro Am drivers currently)
  •  Increase in restrictor size (more air = more power)
  •  Carbon Fiber brake system

 While not cheap, its not overly expensive for a professional racing team but must be factored into the increased running cost (more hours run than before).

 2) Historical Connections and dated facilities

 Marshall Pruett said on Mid-Week Motorsports this was the reason why Mid-Ohio was left off the schedule. I have heard some of the same criticism coming from the Indycar and Pirelli World Challenge paddock too.

 The USCC by merging the two series envisionsions itself as the premiere sports car series in North America. Think I am lying? Bruno Senna is looking to do more races here and I know more than a few drivers and teams are considering running the North American Endurance Championship part of the schedule (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans) along with their Europeans commitments.

 Not that Mid Ohio is apart of that, but as I said with woeful bathroom facilities, unpaved portions of the paddock (especially when it rains) and the timing tower that dates back to the late 1970's; its time for the family to pony up some money to upgrade if they want back on the schedule.

 Now Lime Rock is a different case because as I said previously (I believe this was around 2007) LRP management (Skip Barber, et-al) was told by the ALMS it would not return to the track next season unless upgrades were made to the facilities and the track itself. Skip asked people who use the track for HPDE mostly to invest back into the track, which they did. So various upgrades and safety improvements where made.

 However with the potential of entries nearing 40-45 and having already planned split events elsewhere; the movers and shakers at IMSA felt the track just wasn't up to par anymore.

 This lead to quite a bit hurt feelings on the interwebs (Facebook, Racer and I'm sure elsewhere) especially those that live in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, Conn) who had grown used to seeing Camel GT, then Grand Am and ALMS all come to the track.

 As I said I feel bit sorry for Skip and all the gang, but that's how the cookie crumbles and he had a plan B just in case he wasn't included, read the link above.

 I am looking forward to 2014 even more and keep saying to the disbelief of some, that the ALMS community will come out of this much better than the Grand Am community does. As soon as the Grand Am fan base comes to terms with this, the quicker the healing can begin, but I doubt that will happen, especially despite the upgrades to DP's, P2's end up dominating the series, which I think might happen.

 That's for another post however.

 PS - 

 Further changes are coming to the site especially as the ALMS season comes to a close and more announcements from teams coming, going, changing classes or leaving the series.

 My post will be forward to as soon as they let me know that will start happening. To make this more seamless, I will be switching to Wordpress.

 Stay tuned...

Friday, September 13, 2013

More Goofy Sh*t and more sussing out the schedule (Updated!)

 While there's no regulations outlawing me from promoting my blog, nonetheless there's always some grade A asshole who minds me plugging my blog.

 I'll be changing some things around soon to make it more clear that anything I post is from a fan's point of view, not a press release masquerading as the news which is what most Americans are used too these days.

 I will always link to proper journalism but also have a personal take.

 With that out of the way, Marshall Pruett and John Dagys have started to piece together the 2014 United Sports Car Racing schedule.

 This first three events seem to be locked in, with only an announcement pending; some say next week at the combined ALMS/WEC event at COTA.
  1.  24 hours of Daytona
  2.  Mobil One 12 hours of Sebring
  3.  Toyota Long Beach GP
 Let's stop right there for a second... Marshall stated during Mid-Week Motorsports this week, that while Long Beach might be a GT only race, he said that the possibility of it being a full grid USCR race is still there.

 This would be ideal of course if paddock issues could be solved. It makes for a very solid first 1/3rd of the season and some interesting storylines. 

 It could easily go pear shaped if you DNF at Daytona, but you must finish on the podium at Sebring. Otherwise if for some reason you don't finish well at Long Beach where its easy to destroy the car, you might never recover.

 On the flip of that, if you finish your class in first place at all three races, you have two double points rounds and standard 2:45 race at Long Beach. You could just finish in the Top 5, occasionally podium and still win the Championship.

 Many an ALMS season has been made or broken at Sebring. If you do badly at Daytona, you could recover at Sebring, but its important that you get solid finishes.

 The racing should be great and very contentious, especially if there any penalties for avoidable contact.

 The rest of the schedule is less clear at this point because no dates have been set. But it seems Laguna Seca is going to be apart of the inaugural season of USCR. 

 Tracks on the bubble -

  •  Mid-Ohio
  •  VIR
  •  Baltimore
 I am not including Laguna Seca on the bubble as Marshall seemed pretty certain that it will be apart of the schedule. Where does it land? Does it return to its current status of being a 4-6 hour event before Le Mans Test Weekend or return to its former status at a race into the evening as the last race of the season?

 What's also not completely clear is the status of Mosport, Detroit and Baltimore. 

 Detroit seems to be penciled in as a Prototype only race, but just like Long Beach could be a full grid race as well.

 Mosport has a letter of intent but has not signed yet, which is my guess and Baltimore is looking for a date and from that we'll know if it will be included on the USCR schedule or not.

 Revised Scheduled as follows... (10 Full Field, 2 Partial unofficially)

  1.  Rolex 24 @ Daytona (Jan 25/26)
  2.  Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring (Mar 15)
  3.  Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix (Apr 12th) *Pro Classes Only
  4.  Laguna Seca 
  5.  Detroit GP (Pro Am Classes Only?) *Le Mans Test Weekend
  6.  Watkins Glen 6 Hours
  7.  Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
  8.  Brickyard 400 Weekend (IMS Road Course)
  9.  Road America (4 hours/500 Miles?)
  10.  Circuit of The Americas (COTA) 
  11.  Virginia International Raceway (VIR)
  12.  Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta)

The strong rumor is its 12 races, not 11 as previously thought. News coming out of Baltimore is that the B-More GP is not going to happen in 2014 because a date can not be found for Indycar. Looks like the Autoextremist was right, though I think he thought it was because of the $1.9 Million dollars worth of damage (from Mid Week Motorsports) in that race opening accident, requiring new tubs for Falken Tires, Core Autosport and I think Miller Racing (all Porsches, interesting). Level 5 also had to order a new tub since the suspension mounting points damaged the original (IE pushed though)

 Rumor has it the full schedule will be announced during the WEC/ALMS weekend at COTA next weekend, so stay tuned to see how correct I, John, Marshall and others are.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

TRG to enter Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at Penultimate Grand Am race

 Looks like TRG-Aston Martin has entered their Vantage V12 GT3 at the Laguna Seca round as Darren Turner, factory Aston Martin driver is on the driver strength with recent World Challenge winner Brandon Davis.

  Entry List

 I am going to guess this is an opportunity to collect data vs the Grand Am spec cars that are basically going to rolled into GT-D next season.

 I'm a little bit skeptical because I really think FIA cars at Sonoma could have finished higher than they did but didn't want to interfere with the championship that is being fought between Sofronas and O'Connell.

 According to Brad Kettler of Audi North America Consumer Sports, the FIA spec car is 4 seconds faster a lap than the car Sofronas runs or the Fall-Line Audi (which are the same). 

 If Sofronas is on pace with the Caddy CTS-V cars and is not considered a Pro driver, what happens when Darren Turner a proven shoe, who's driven Laguna Seca before and owns a professional simulator; is somebody trying to tell me they have no chance to win?

 Will they run unclassifed because there is a tight championship battle in Rolex GT?

 I said to stay tuned because I would have a take on this after seeing the car and how it ran.  

They qualified 10th and finished 10th. With as many changes to the car just to run it to Rolex GT specs is astounding. I would post a picture of an FIA spec car, but with this car's dark color scheme its a bit hard to see without high res pictures.

 But I can tell you (also explained in the press release) that they changed the front fenders (less aggressive), front splitter and looks like the GT4 rear bumper. From the first laps turned in the car, Darren Turner and Brandon Davis both said the car lacked balance or a loose condition (oversteer). 

 This is the same problem that has plagued the Fall-Line Audi R8 LMS Grand Am since getting the car. Grand Am has allowed them to install the rear diffuser from the Ultra to help alleviate that problem and that gets back to my point of allowing pure FIA GT3 cars.

 Here's what I don't understand from a few fans pov. Some are adamant that the only Porsche allowed in GT-D next season is the Porsche (997) 911-GT3 Cup "America". I read the press release which I will not link to because frankly this is not the direction USCC should going in. From the announced specs, the America is basically a Super Cup Porsche with a NASCAR/Grand Am mandated rollcage thickness. The main difference between the cars running Rolex GT or ALMS GTC is the Super Cup car has ABS.

 I understand the reasoning  behind this is to save teams money. But as I keep saying, even spending $100K more for most racing teams is nothing, they will spend it somewhere else and they will spend it, they won't save it.

 There is some interest from some Audi GT3 teams in Europe to run at least Daytona and possibly the North American Endurance Championship (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Petit Le Mans) and I know there interest in GT-D from Black Swan and others.

 This is not the time to force teams into making expensive changes to existing cars, blunting the impact of the FIA GT3 cars that I and other fans are clamoring for.

 Some are concerned about the overall lap speed of the FIA GT3 cars. Being the slowest class where they are now some 8-10 seconds slower than P2/LMPC/DP and 5-6 seconds GTLM; Again according to Brad Kettler of Audi Customer Sports USA the FIA GT3 spec Audi R8 Ultra is 4 seconds faster than the Grand Am/GTC spec car. In many championships GT3 cars run a spec tire as well.

 On a optimized tire they can lap very close to a GTLM car. But development has been halted by SRO and the FIA; Even then they are 2-3 seconds per lap slower. At a recent International GT Open race at Spa, the best lap time by a GTS (FIA GT3) car was 2:22.556 and the best lap by former F1 driver Montermini in his GT (GTE spec 2013) Ferrari F458 was 2.20.360.

 On tighter tracks and slippery surfaces, the GTS car may have a slight advantage over a GTLM car because they ABS and Traction Control, while the GTLM cars have just Traction Control.

 With the Pro-Am mandate for this class, at its fastest the car will be 2-3 seconds slower than GTLM and at least 4-6 seconds slower with the Am driver.

 This will make them 6-7 seconds slower than the fastest class which is plenty. 

 With the Pro-Am mandate removed from P2 in USCC competition, I don't see any difficulties with pro drivers being forced to make quality passes around Pro Am drivers, which is something they are used too, it doesn't matter if they don't quite blow away the slowest class as dramatically as they do now.

 Please join me in my push to make Elkins and USCC bring FIA GT3 cars into GT-D WITHOUT ANY CHANGES to the cars. 

Michelin to F1? Rumors gather steam but how will it impact Sports Cars? And It Will...

 I have heard the Michelin back into F1 rumor since the beginning of summer. That rumor seems to have legs and is actually picking up the pace.

 On Racecar Engineering they went into some detail of what would happen if they did return to F1 and how that would impact my favorite motorsport discipline, sports cars.

 My take -

 It will have an impact and since Michelin will not be supplying any prototypes in the upcoming USCR, that will give them the extra capacity they need to start building F1 tires in time for 2014.

 I don't think any WEC factory prototype programs will be affected. Neither do I believe any of the current GT teams will be affected either, as the majority of LMS, ALMS/USCR and WEC teams run Michelins.

 Though if they need the capacity, they might drop some GT teams and that might leave the door open for Bridgestone who is has a toe in the water with the Deltawing program. However the Deltawing will be on Continentals next season, leaving them without a car to supply.

 I think that will be short lived however, I think Bridgestone wants to be in the USCR to promote the Bridgestone brand, since its known as an OEM supplier to several European car manufacturers already, its an opportunity to add to Bridgestone's motorsport legacy, especially in America.

I'll take a stab at it - USCR Schedule (11 Races?)

I can't post on Ten-Tenths anymore, right? No problem, I got a blog....

So recently (August) this thread was started and it talks about the possible full season entry list and schedule for the first year of the new USCR series. 

 I talk a bit about the entry list, at least in GT-D here. 

This post will focus on the schedule.

 After reading the tea leafs, listening to podcast and reading various things around the internet, I come up with this -

  1. Rolex Daytona 24
  2. Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring
  3. Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix*
  4. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
  5. 6 Hours of Watkins Glen
  6. Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport)
  7. Road America
  8. Baltimore 
  9. Detroit (Labor Day Weekend)
  10. Circuit of The Americas (Austin)
  11. Petit Le Mans
The (*) is for the possible split race(s) we might see. Long Beach (Southern California) is a very important market for the automakers. The problem is paddock space. There are usually six different series/races at the track that one weekend. 

 Marshall Pruett has said that Long Beach is for sure back on the schedule likely for the reasons I said above but that because of the limited paddock space, might be a GTLM/GT-D only race.

 Again this would make sense because these are based on actual street cars unlikely prototypes.

 I do believe however there is an element of the sports car fan base that wants to see prototypes racing even if they are DP's which have proven unpopular in California or P2's which are the same as P1 but use stock block based engines.

 It seems IMSA/USCR could be bringing back the split race format just for this event.

 You'll notice Kansas Speedway which was run for the first time by Grand Am a few weeks ago. As I understand it, NASCAR recently signed that deal with Kansas to have racers there. I included Laguna Seca because both series have run there for the last 5-9 years. But to keep it the season at 11 races, Laguna might be on the chopping block.

 I based that on the desire for Atherton to keep the shared dates with Indycar. That would lock-in Detroit, Long Beach and Baltimore. There is also a rumor of Indycar using the road course at Indy and I know Grand Am had run there the last two seasons, but nothing is confirmed yet.

 So if I had to add Kansas and Indy to the schedule, who else is on the chopping block?

 Peter Delorenzo is reporting that USCR will not be returning to Baltimore. If thats true, then I guess we run Indy during the month of May on the road course to the Indy 500 weekend, instead of with the NASCAR and the Brickyard 400 weekend.

 I know Indycar has expressed the desire to end the 2014 season on Labor Day weekend. The rumor has Detroit being that race and that would make sense. The race previous to its current location on the calendar is late August.

 Seems there's a general agreement that VIR won't return, but that likely depends on the response to the share WEC/ALMS weekend in two weeks.

 On Mid-Week Motorsports Marshall commented that if USCR doesn't give a date to Lime Rock, that it could send the Continental Tire series and other support series to the track. I also agree with him that there should be at least one more race in Canada.

 So given the explanations, the revised schedule would look like this -

  1.  Daytona
  2.  Sebring
  3.  Long Beach
  4.  Indy 500 Weekend
  5.  Watkins Glen
  6.  Mosport
  7.  Road America
  8.  Detroit
  9.  Kansas
  10.  Circuit of The Americas
  11.  Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta)

 This sort of makes sense and would please most of the ALMS fan base. The lost of Laguna Seca might be temporary as I think 2014 is sort of a holding pattern to find out who is going to go with the series long term. By having only 11 races, when 12-14 are very possible its likely taking in account the increased budgets needed just to complete all the added endurance races.

 Grand Am is adding 12 and 10 hour races to its schedule. While the ALMS is adding a 24 hour races to its schedule and that doesn't include the teams going to Le Mans.

 *Laguna Seca was a 6 hour race but reduced to 4 hours this season

 Any questions? 

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