United SportsCar Racing Debuts in 2014
March 14, 2013 | 3:24 P.M. EST
The new United SportsCar Racing platform was revealed Thursday, resulting from the merger of GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series. (Photo: USCR)
SEBRING, Fla. – The new United SportsCar Racing platform was revealed Thursday at Sebring International Raceway, resulting from the merger of GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series Presented by Tequila Patrón.
United SportsCar Racing will debut in 2014 with the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona International Speedway.
"The new name says it all," said GRAND-AM President and CEO Ed Bennett. "In only six months since we announced the merger, GRAND-AM and the ALMS have taken huge strides to become one organization that will redefine sports car racing in North America. United SportsCar Racing reflects the fundamental spirit of how we are working together toward a common goal."
Thursday's announcement is the culmination of a four-month project that involved New York-based SME Branding, one of the nation's leading agencies with a client list that includes NASCAR, the NFL, NHL, the New York Yankees, Kentucky Derby and Madison Square Garden. SME conducted stakeholder research as well as fan input to develop the series' name, logo and brand identity. The selection of United SportsCar Racing was derived from a submission by Louis Satterlee of Cocoa, Fla., in GRAND-AM's "Name The Future" fan contest.
Bennett, ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton and SME Senior Partner Ed O'Hara collectively introduced United SportsCar Racing in the Chateau Elan Hotel and Conference Center's Le Mans Ballroom, adjacent to Sebring's famed Hairpin Turn. Saturday will mark the 61st running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, the opening race of the 2013 ALMS season.
"When it came to the branding of our newly merged entities, we felt we had one chance to get it right – and now we believe we've done just that," Atherton said. "We began the process by listening to everyone – manufacturers, corporate partners, drivers, teams, tracks and of course, the fans. The input was invaluable and helped lead us to today's milestone announcement."
O'Hara said the goal of the new name is "to be modern, aspirational, authentic, unique and - obviously - exciting. We want fans and the sports car industry to feel like they 'own' this new brand."
Also announced was the retaining of the storied International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) as the sanctioning body for United SportsCar Racing. IMSA, co-founded in 1969 by John Bishop and the late Bill France Sr., also will sanction the new organization's various ancillary series including the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Ferrari Challenge, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Series, the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin and the newly announced Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo.
The new competition class names for 2014 also were announced:
- The lead Prototype (P) class, combining GRAND-AM's Daytona Prototypes plus the ALMS' P2 and DeltaWing cars.
- Prototype Challenge (PC), retained from the current ALMS class structure.
- GT Le Mans (GTLM), consisting of the ALMS' current GT class.
- GT Daytona (GTD), consisting of GRAND-AM's current GT class and the ALMS' current GTC class.
- GX, coming over from the current GRAND-AM structure.