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Old 7 Jan 2010, 16:16 (Ref:2609578)   #1
trahsub
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Have we experiecned the peak of the ALMS (2008), and now the consistent decline?

Does anyone still have optimism that things will return to the stronger entry lists of last decade? Or are we watching another great series, in its current format, go by the wayside like many other have?
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Old 7 Jan 2010, 16:49 (Ref:2609592)   #2
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I think that the ALMS has been proven to be an exciting and popular series . I also reckon the grids are definatly related to the economic situation , which when it returns to normal will reflect on grid sizes .

People are holding their purse strings tightly , normal with the situation in my opinion .
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Old 7 Jan 2010, 17:10 (Ref:2609604)   #3
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Things should be MUCH better once people have their new rules LMPs in order (constructors have their designs worked out and teams have a clearer picture of their ptions for 2011). We shouldn't be any worse off on car counts in 2010, and with Highcroft, Drayson, Dyson, and Corsa, we should have some good battles up front. Yes, I put Corsa in there, because they've ditched the hybrid system, which was adding noticeable weight and robbing them of outright horsepower, and because they're going to a larger Judd engine (either GV5 or GV5.5) from the 4.0-litre they used in 2009.

And as far as GTs go, the landscape has never really been better in recent history. We don't have quite as many total GTs/GT2s as in 1999-2002, but we have 12-16 GT2s, and they're not just Porsches and BMWs or just Porsches and Ferraris. We have at least 4 Porsches (Flying Lizards, Falken, Vici, ?) and at least 3 Ferraris (Risi, Scott Sharp's outfit, ?). We have the 2 factory BMWs and the 2 factory Corvettes. I have to think that PTG will have something out there, whether it be a Panoz, BMW, or something else. There will be at least the one Robertson Ford GT, and unless LMPC takes all of Primetime's resources, I'd expect to see the Viper. And I almost forgot, but I would think we'll also be seeing the LG Corvette.

We survived 2004, and we're still here in 2010 with things looking to be at least slightly on the mend, and far more promising prospects come 2011.
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Old 7 Jan 2010, 17:19 (Ref:2609612)   #4
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I think a lot depends on how quick and on what level the economy picks up again: If we go back to the grwoth rates we had before the crash, the current crisis of the ALMS might only be a slight hickup, but if we only see a slow recovery this might do the series in.

And then, there's of course the question of long term viability: experts say, that we'll see less, but bigger car companies in the future as the existing ones merge with their rivals or simply shut down.
Now, most companies don't like it, if their brands race eachother, so the number of potentially 'available' manufacturers decreases. For a series as dependent on manufacturer-participation as the ALMS, this already is a problem and will only get worse in years to come. Relying on manufacturers has always been problematic, but with fewer brands and companies this will only get worse in the future.
The ACO's Intercontinental Cup doesn't make things any better, of course.

So overall, I think, that after ten years, time might be ripe again for another revolution in North American sportscar racing, especially considering how the rival series Grand Am and especially Speed World Challenge aren't exactly betted on roses right now, either...
The next two or three years will probably be VERY interesting.

Last edited by Speed-King; 7 Jan 2010 at 17:30.
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Old 7 Jan 2010, 17:36 (Ref:2609624)   #5
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For some reason I find the AMLS much more interesting than both the LMS and FIA GT. That's why I went from cold Norway to sunny Sebring last year.

I don't exactly know why I fancy the AMLS so much, but I think it has a lot to do with the tracks.

Sebring, Road Atlanta, Lime Rock, Mid Ohio etc. are for me much more interesting than Barcelona, Silverstone and Nürburgring GP.

The European tracks are fine, but they are often Formula 1 tracks, and that makes them too safe/big/perfect - and lacks the personality of the American tracks.

And in the US you have a lot of fans at the sportscar-races such as Sebring and Petit.

Is it any other sportscar race in Europe than Le Mans (and the 24 hour at the Nürburgring) that draws a lot of people?

So yes, the AMLS has a bright future! I also think one LMP and one GT-class is the way to go. Not so confusing, and a lot of cars competing with each other.
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Old 7 Jan 2010, 18:10 (Ref:2609650)   #6
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I think I would argue against 2008 being a peak in terms of entries in the American Le Mans Series. Here is the average entry numbers, since inception. These do include the GT-C cars for 2009.

1999 38.66666667
2000 31.5
2001 28.875
2002 34.6
2003 36.66666667
2004 27.22222222
2005 25.8
2006 24.8
2007 24.25
2008 30.3
2009 23.88888889

To me it looks like a long-term decline, with a couple of anomolies in the data set.
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Old 7 Jan 2010, 20:00 (Ref:2609707)   #7
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I would be interested to get the Bear's thoughts on this topic. The economy has affected everything, but the ACO rule changes have not made things any easier on constructors or teams.

I am starting to think that the ALMS may not be around in 2015.
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Old 7 Jan 2010, 20:16 (Ref:2609711)   #8
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I am starting to think that the ALMS may not be around in 2015.
2015? You're an optimist. I'm not 100% sure it will be around in 2011 in its current shape.
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Old 7 Jan 2010, 23:10 (Ref:2609800)   #9
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It is just about 90% the economy. Manufacturers, even if they desire motorsport programs, have a hard time getting them signed off up the chain of command. Sponsors again they are looking hard at value for money and return on investment. The Rich Guys, some of them weren't so rich after all and had financial empires dependent on things such as financial services or real estate.

Right now the wagons are circled and will be for some time into the future. Years I believe. It is what it is and it wouldn't stop me from going to an ALMS race just because the grid #'s are down. Everyones grid #'s are down!
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Old 8 Jan 2010, 00:26 (Ref:2609831)   #10
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While ALMS is not in the best of health right now I think it is unfair to look at it in isolation of other North American racing series. No one is looking particularly good and find me a series where the car counts are what they were 10 years ago.

2011 will be a key year. If they can't make it work as they want to then, it maybe time to ask some very serious but fundamental questions.
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Old 8 Jan 2010, 02:26 (Ref:2609843)   #11
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Yes, I put Corsa in there, because they've ditched the hybrid system, which was adding noticeable weight and robbing them of outright horsepower, and because they're going to a larger Judd engine (either GV5 or GV5.5) from the 4.0-litre they used in 2009.
Do you think so?
Jonh Manchester (Zytek Engineering) doesn't...
On this interview (in french) he says that Corsa will continue with Zytek Hybrid platform.
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Old 8 Jan 2010, 03:58 (Ref:2609857)   #12
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The key Question is: are there other opportunities around to race these cars in North America?. Just this would create a market for older cars and encourage new entrants (or existing entrants to bring on new cars)
In Europe we have
GT2: FIA-GT2, GT-Open, some national series (most of them switched to GT3 now, which is a basis from which constantly teams are flocking in to GT2)
GT1: FIA-GT1, frensh GT-series (until last year - future uncertain)
LMP: no alternative , but there is a large CN/LMP3-scene existing as basis.

Any possibility to race your GT2-car in North America? I don´t know one.

Any competing series may be considered as opposition by the IMSA, but would in fact strenghten the market for the cars. But all competing series (Grand-Am, etc.) go for another set of rules.

This is the deeper reason to introduce a GT-Challenge class - here is at least a basis existing.
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Old 8 Jan 2010, 05:08 (Ref:2609874)   #13
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LM.pt, I'm going by what was said by Corsa team personnel interviewed at PLM and Laguna, as well as perhaps a few other mentions on RLM. Based on it coming from the horse's mouth, yes, I very much am under the impression that Corsa will NOT be running a hybrid setup in 2010.
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Old 8 Jan 2010, 06:18 (Ref:2609883)   #14
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Zytek Engineering might like Corsa to continue work on the hybrid, but Corsa is NOT the works team, and Corsa has to do what they believe is in their best interests. Seeing as how they have had horrid vibration problems that they could not solve with the hybrid system operational, that said system is added weight over the minimum, and that said system is robbing horsepower from the internal combustion engine (rather than providing additional power of its own), Corsa sees that they are NOT making progress down that path. More importantly, they are making little if any progress with a system that, by mere virtue of it being on the car whether it works or not, is significantly hurting them competitively on the race track.

Now for the main topic at hand.

I do think two GT classes, especially if they were based on displacement, wouldn't be a bad idea. In LMPs and GTs though, it's not a bad thing to have a less hell-bent-for-leather class so that the factories don't drive everyone off when they do show up. And I didn't find the multi-class aspect, even between different GTs or P cars, to be confusing, frustrating, or a problem at all when I saw my first ALMS race on TV (and that was the first sportscar race I could ever remember having seen, so up until Sears Point 1999, multi-class racing of any kind was completely foreign to me).

I don't think manufacturers merging has been an issue as much as manufacturers just not deciding to go sportscar racing. And among those who do, most of them don't really provide much volume in terms of customer cars. Except for Porsche and Ferrari to an extent, I think this issue really began to rear its head when sponsors were finally allowed to adorn the cars themselves (the FIA ban on this practice was lifted after 1968).

It's funny, but I don't think the absolute car counts say nearly as much as you might think in some critical ways. Watching the ALMS race coverage from 1999-2000, there might as well have been 6 prototypes and 4 GTs at any given race for all the airtime any of the other cars got. You saw the Panoz, BMWs, and Audis. Occasionally, you were reminded of the existence of the R&Ss, Lolas, Ferraris, and the lone Porsche 911 GT1. In GTS/GT, you saw the Beretta/Wendlinger Viper, the Snow Porsche 911 GT2, the Dick Barbour Porsche, and the leading PTG BMW M3. You generally only saw flashes of the second Viper, the Corvette, or any of the other GT class cars.

All that aside, most of those early fields of cars were made up of WSCs (NOT actual LMP900s), and old-spec GT3s (Porsche 911s that looked little removed from their counterparts of the '70s and the very boxy, early PTG BMW M3s). What I'm saying is that if you look at the grids based on the actual current regulation cars that were running, it really hasn't been a decline when you realize that 1999-2000 you effectively had two separate generations of cars on track at once, rather than just one. Aside from Daytona and Sebring, the late IMSA, PSCR, and USRRC grids weren't looking all that hot in terms of numbers in the WSC era (1994-98). And lest we forget that the first PLM had but 29 starters. With 1999, there was the switchover to LMP900, GTS, and GT. There was a smaller change with real LMP675s coming out for customers in 2002. In 2005, we had the move to LMP1, LMP2, GT1, and GT2.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but my brain was running, and my hands were just trying to keep up. Good night.
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Old 8 Jan 2010, 10:27 (Ref:2609959)   #15
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LM.pt, I'm going by what was said by Corsa team personnel interviewed at PLM and Laguna, as well as perhaps a few other mentions on RLM. Based on it coming from the horse's mouth, yes, I very much am under the impression that Corsa will NOT be running a hybrid setup in 2010.
Ok. Thanks!
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