I have ALMS on my mind. For the most part ALMS makes me extremely happy, well at least the GT(2) Class any ways. The whole series for the most part is geared towards wealthy automotive enthusiasts- no I am not making that up that is what there market research shows and how they want it. The series is beginning to have more success in the 18-34 year old bracket (male) but what is concerning to me is beyond the numbers, it is the future.
ALMS has had very little in terms of competition for US road racing- aside from the Grand AM Series which also pairs prototypes and production based cars in different “classes “. Grand AM is owned and operated by NASCAR so it has big bucks supporting it and over the past fewyears it has made significant strides in becoming relevant.
The advantage of Grand AM right now is the variety of cars competing. Where ALMS seems to have an uncanny fondness for Porsche production cars by creating an entire class of them, Grand AM has nine different models in its equivalent class. This allows teams to choose the car they like best (for whatever reason) and gives fans of different brands a rooting interest. Outside the GT Class there is little ALMS offers in variety and this is precisely where the problem lies.
They (ALMS) need to open things up a bit- allow say a BMW Z4 GT3, a Lamborghini (Super Trofeo anyone?) or even an Audi R8 to compete in the boring and pointless GTC class. If anyone cares about the prototypes that race in the US at all would be a surprise to me- so get rid of them, but again I don ‘t have a yacht or a few million in the bank so they are not meant for me. If the Peugots, Audis or Astins raced stateside more often I would care more but Acura is not something I have time for.
Call me crazy but with DTM coming to the US in 2013 alongside NASCAR and Grand AM, ALMS may find itself as old and stodgy. The timing of DTM in the US is at the same time the regulations will match the Japanese Super GT Series, allowing the two to intertwine more in the future.
I am not the only one that feels this way- ABC/ESPNs coverage deal with ALMS is for 2011 and 2012 so they too must feel that this could be the end of what we consider our favorite race series.
I hope I am wrong but just in case I will becoming more familiar with Grand AM…..