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Old 24 Jul 2010, 03:40 (Ref:2731563)   #1
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Should IMSA return to just GT's?

http://lastturnclub.com/index.php?op...=716&Itemid=51

An interesting article on Last Turn Club, discussing a return to IMSA GT.
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 04:37 (Ref:2731569)   #2
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Up on the hill on No-Name this weekend, there's a guy with a vintage Camel GT banner. Just thought this was the appropriate thread to say this.

Regarding the article, I'd actually love this.

The crowds around here are more into the GT class than the Pcar class anyway, cause we can all relate to the road cars. The rivalries between the manufactures and their fans is excellent, we feed off each other.

Last edited by Matt; 24 Jul 2010 at 04:45.
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 06:53 (Ref:2731585)   #3
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Well...

I said years ago that the ALMS could survive as a GT only series. Ratel has done it since the original FIA GT Championship imploded.

In any event, I think its an option that should be explored at. Its still cheaper to run a GT2 or GT3 car than almost any of the prototypes but maybe the LMPC cars.

I too am disappointed by long time ALMS competitors in LMP, they have either been ill-prepared, vastly underfunded or just unlucky (maybe all 3?).

But I think we can tolerate one more season of this and here's why -

Sebring 2011 LMP1 could possible be -
  • Highcroft-Wirth-HPD LMP1 (2 Cars)
  • Audi R15+ or Audi R18 (2 Cars)
  • Aston Martin Racing In-House Designed and Built Car (2)
  • *Penske-Porsche LMP1 (2 Cars)
  • Rebellion Racing Lola-HPD? (2 Cars, Marco Andretti)
  • Drayson Racing Lola-HPD? (2 Cars)
  • Muscle Milk-Cytosport ???? (likely LMP1)
  • Intersport Racing (1 Car Unknown)
  • Dyson Racing Lola-Sticking with Mazda? (continue with LMP2 spec car in LMP1?)

So 15 cars, post Sebring it could drop down to 9 cars, so +3 from 2010

We won't know who the season entries are until around Wheels Down in Feb. If it looks disappointing, then I would announce this sweeping change to ALMS. I think the factories in GT would welcome this change, it gives them exclusive air time. While we would have apart of the fan base moan and groan, I think as long as the factories want to build off the shelf race cars and are willing to sell them to others, we could have fields of 20+ in GT easily.

Doing nothing else and if the current rumor about Robertson is true and a second Jag were to finally appear that's 15 cars. If you change GTC to pure GT3, you could have another 10-12 cars. You could easily have 30-35 cars, even in this economy.

35 cars battling nose to tail. I think The Fields could be just as quick in a GT or GT3 car, especially if they use the FIA Driver Rating system I believe both would be rated Silver. You could loose Highcroft and Drayson to ILC anyway.

Muscle Milk is interesting because Pickett has plenty of money and went with the best used LMP2 car on the market. Does he have a desire to return to Le Mans?

I think Autocon is on the verge of calling it quits.
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 06:56 (Ref:2731587)   #4
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Originally Posted by Fogelhund View Post
http://lastturnclub.com/index.php?op...=716&Itemid=51

An interesting article on Last Turn Club, discussing a return to IMSA GT.
You should have attached a poll.
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 10:02 (Ref:2731615)   #5
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Speed-King should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSpeed-King should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSpeed-King should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSpeed-King should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
A few years ago there was an article on sportscarpros (can't find it right now, perhaps soemone else can?) that suggested that manufacturer interest in prototypes was dead and that GTS was the real deal and that maybe it should indeed become the ALMS's new headline class... a few months later Porsche announced that they'd built the RS Spyder and suddenly everyone reversed their opinion and sure enough what followed were two of ALMS's best seasons.

That said, Mr. Farell's ideas have quite some appeal and 40+ GT-cars going into the first turn at any track would surely a sight to behold.
But then, I am not so sure about the long term health of GT(2)... and if GT2 imploded a GT-only series would suddenly look like a REALLY bad idea.

Another issue is that a GT-only series under current regs would shut out those manufacturers that don't have suitable roadcars... John Bishop tried to get around that problem by creating the AAGT and GTX-rules, but I don't think something like that would be popular with the crowd on here...
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 15:22 (Ref:2731695)   #6
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Speedy, I think I do differ from many people's opinions on tubers around here, but I think I can safely say that there are some truths that 'the crowd around here' can agree on pertaining to tubers:

1. If you have a tube-frame chassis, the title 'prototype' becomes somewhat inappropriate. The arrival of the monocoque in F1 in the early 70's meant the end of the technical superiority of tube or space framed chassis.

2. Balancing tube framers and production chassis to compete in the same class is ridiculous. (Note: this does not mean a GTX or AAGT car cannot compete against a 'proper' GT car built to different performance specifications.)

3. (Somewhat related to '2') Tube-frame aren't necessarily without a place in American sports car racing.

As far as the article is concerned, I've commented on it elsewhere and yes... the manufacturers need more to appease them. GT(2) won't die so long as the ROI is there to support it. Look at NASCAR, the ludicrous expenses in that sport have not yet meant its death, manufacturers feel that they get ROI enough to remain in Sprint Cup racing in spite of its insane (to many around here unreasonable) costs. If you give manufacturers and sponsors exposure AND relevance the ROI is huge and there is wiggle room for costs to escalate more.

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Old 24 Jul 2010, 16:23 (Ref:2731708)   #7
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There's an obvious solution to suit all parties.

You run the course of the ALMS season for GTE, GT3 and Cup cars and bookmark it with the Sebring and PLM ILMC counting rounds where the season regulars slot into the normal class structure as they do at Le Mans.

As for the P1/P2 teams Highcroft have ambitions to win Le Mans so appear destined for the ILMC while all but Dyson could slot into a GT structure with ease.

I say that as Dyson seem insistent on running prototypes but don't appear to have the finances or desire to run in the ILMC.

Perhaps they'd go to Grand Am.

IMO what cannot continue much longer is the P1/P2 field running to non ACO regs. Not only does it put Highcroft and Dyson at a disadvantage as they need to switch car spec when running at Le Mans, Sebring and PLM, the likes of Autocon are nowhere to be seen once their performance breaks are removed.

Last edited by JAG; 24 Jul 2010 at 16:37.
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 16:54 (Ref:2731716)   #8
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Originally Posted by Jonerz View Post
Speedy, I think I do differ from many people's opinions on tubers around here, but I think I can safely say that there are some truths that 'the crowd around here' can agree on pertaining to tubers:
The Prep 1/Prep 2 nonsense has been a nightmare, it was never going to work. If you want to disconnect yourself completely from the ACO (which a few feel should happen anyway) than doing some variation of what Grand Am is doing is signing your death warrant IMHO.

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1. If you have a tube-frame chassis, the title 'prototype' becomes somewhat inappropriate. The arrival of the monocoque in F1 in the early 70's meant the end of the technical superiority of tube or space framed chassis.
And drove up the cost of SCCA Club Racers in the mid to late 70's

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Originally Posted by Jonerz View Post
2. Balancing tube framers and production chassis to compete in the same class is ridiculous. (Note: this does not mean a GTX or AAGT car cannot compete against a 'proper' GT car built to different performance specifications.)
See #1 for Grand Am who used the Porsche 911 Cup as the benchmark because the DP's are no quicker than GT(2) car. You can't have what happen at California Speedway a few years ago (Boris Said) or have a slower but reliable GT car beat more "exotic" DP's at the biggest race on the calendar (TRG) just decided to slow all the GT's down instead of speed the DP's.

Which struck many as FOUL...

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Originally Posted by Jonerz View Post
3. (Somewhat related to '2') Tube-frame aren't necessarily without a place in American sports car racing.
How relevant is SCCA Trans Am? They have a place - NASCAR

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Originally Posted by Jonerz View Post
As far as the article is concerned, I've commented on it elsewhere and yes... the manufacturers need more to appease them. GT(2) won't die so long as the ROI is there to support it. Look at NASCAR, the ludicrous expenses in that sport have not yet meant its death, manufacturers feel that they get ROI enough to remain in Sprint Cup racing in spite of its insane (to many around here unreasonable) costs. If you give manufacturers and sponsors exposure AND relevance the ROI is huge and there is wiggle room for costs to escalate more.

Chris
I don't think GT(2) will die.

The technology is constantly increasing in the road car and ultra relevant.

As long as the OEM's take a shell off the production line and are willing to build cars for people to buy, they are getting ROI. Because they won't build cars they can't sell and Porsche has sold every single racing 911 it can build. Porsche was willing to spend much money in the ALMS in 2008 (with Flying Lizard) to protect its market after the defection of Tafel Racing to Ferrari. Plus getting walloped in Europe in FIA GT and at Le Mans was just too much to take. The American Le Mans Series is so important they had most of the factory pilots here full time.

I don't think you need to create a 'tube chassis class to help say Mazda or Ford. Marc VDS with partner Multimatic modified a Mustang FR500GT3 into the Marc VDS Mustang GT3 (Independent Rear Suspension). This is basically no different than Steve Saleen building the Saleen Mustang SR which had a Thunderbird IRS in place of the standard straight axle. I even emailed them if they were going to build any street cars

Mazda is rumored to be kicking around the idea of bringing the RX7 back

BMW sales will likely happen once its shown it can be competitive day in and day out. I don't mean dominate, they are in year two of development and had a dreadful Le Mans. It took Risi dominating the ALMS in 2007 and AF Corsa dominating FIA GT2 for sweeping changes to happen.

35-40 cars (though too many for Lime Rock) is very possible in two years.
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 17:02 (Ref:2731719)   #9
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There's an obvious solution to suit all parties.

You run the course of the ALMS season for GTE, GT3 and Cup cars and bookmark it with the Sebring and PLM ILMC counting rounds where the season regulars slot into the normal class structure as they do at Le Mans.

As for the P1/P2 teams Highcroft have ambitions to win Le Mans so appear destined for the ILMC while all but Dyson could slot into a GT structure with ease.

I say that as Dyson seem insistent on running prototypes but don't appear to have the finances or desire to run in the ILMC.

Perhaps they'd go to Grand Am.

IMO what cannot continue much longer is the P1/P2 field running to non ACO regs. Not only does it put Highcroft and Dyson at a disadvantage as they need to switch car spec when running at Le Mans, Sebring and PLM, the likes of Autocon are nowhere to be seen once their performance breaks are removed.
I agree, Autocon doesn't even come East anymore. Intersport and Dyson has a decision to make if not now, next year or in 2012. The cost of racing P1 is going to go up and the management can only hold back the flood so long.

You're right, you can't ask those with more money/sponsorship (Drayson, Highcroft) to keep switching configuration to keep their cars ACO legal, nor can you have a weaken Championship with only 3-4 cars. If their recent performance is any indicator they would have been beaten by LMPC car at Laguna Seca and Utah.

You can't build it around LMPC cars, even if you allowed them to upgrade to LMP2 spec because it would be too much like Grand Am.

I think some would grudgingly accept an all GT field before morphing into its direct competitor.

Anybody unhappy with it can do ILC or Grand Am, you have choices.
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 17:19 (Ref:2731727)   #10
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Originally Posted by Speed-King View Post
A few years ago there was an article on sportscarpros (can't find it right now, perhaps soemone else can?) that suggested that manufacturer interest in prototypes was dead and that GTS was the real deal and that maybe it should indeed become the ALMS's new headline class... a few months later Porsche announced that they'd built the RS Spyder and suddenly everyone reversed their opinion and sure enough what followed were two of ALMS's best seasons.
I believe it was Andrew Cotton as I had an e-mail conversation about that article.

I believe the same mistake was being made then as now.

In 2003/2004 GT1 racing was reaching it's peak with many major manufactuers competing in the class.

It was inevitable costs would rise followed by withdrawels from first privateers then manufactuers.

The fact these GT1 cars could not win Le Mans, Sebring, PLM etc. overall also meant ever larger budgets could not be justified.

GT2 is similarly reaching a peak but with the seperation of GTE Pro and GTE Am there is at least a mechanism to retain privateers should manufactuers eventually pull out.

The ACO and manufactuers also appear to be acting proactively to keep costs under control and technology road car relevant.

As for GT3 IMO it appears doomed to failure as late 90's GT1's where.

Costs are exploding with little control over technology due to the relience on performance balancing.

Rather like the CLK-GTR/LM/CLR series of cars looked to be running into a financial dead end so do extreme GT3's like the SLS.

There's the very real possibilty a GTE version of the R8 could be cheaper than the GT3!
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 17:35 (Ref:2731730)   #11
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The technology is constantly increasing in the road car and ultra relevant.
And that's where it gets really really tricky. The big question is if one believes in "relevant racing" or doesn't. Thing is, I don't, to me it's all panem et circenses.
What's happening in racing now and which is billed as green or relevant racing is mostly a process of adopting already existing roadcar technology to the track in an effort to appease the greenies and an increasingly green general public.
Once upon a time, racing was indeed a great innovater, but I think it has ceased to be that somewhere in the 90s.
And then, even if racing was relevant today, it can't follow road car design for much longer (much less go ahead of it). Roadcar developement is ultimately headed for electric vehicles and hard as I might try, I just can't get myself to like the prospect of a field of silent electric cars.
I am not saying that racing can't become green - in fact I think it has to if it wants to survive - but that will happen via the bio fuel route and will ultimately lead to a complete detachement of the road from the track.


So, no - just because it's the big hype right now GT(2) is not immune from the factors that usually lead to the death of a class. And high ROI (be it in terms of popularity or in terms of "relevancy") is usually one of that factors. It just becomes too damn tempting for some to spend the oppossition out of contention... and the more manufacturers you have in a class the greater the likelyhood that there is one of them amongst them that will do it.

A few years ago Porsche and Ferrari had a gentleman's agreement about how many updates they would bring per season and that they'd inform eachother about the next steps they'd take, but I guess that one has gone out of the window with the arrival of BMW and GM. No use to play nice if there are some players that don't stick to the rules.

I could go on and on with this forever, but I think it all comes down to this:
All good things must come to an end and normally the end comes sooner for the best things.

As for Jags remarks:
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GT2 is similarly reaching a peak but with the seperation of GTE Pro and GTE Am there is at least a mechanism to retain privateers should manufactuers eventually pull out.
Don't bet on it. If the manufacturers pull indeed out, variety and quality will be severly compromised and many fans that were attracted by that will turn away. Sure, another blanket statement, but isn't it that especially here at 10/10s people are really critical of series without proper factory efforts and high quality teams? If GTE reverted back to a Porsche-Ferrari-battle with Pro-Am driver teams, would the majority of people (on here and elsewhere) still care about it?
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 18:00 (Ref:2731736)   #12
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arakis has a lot of promise if they can keep it on the circuit!
I am of he oppinion that gt2 has lot of bright futre ahead, and in my oppinion the only two factors needed to sustain the class are porsche and ferrari, and as long as one of them don't conseed the class to the other, gt2 will be fearcly competitive.

all we need for the gt2 class, or any class to remaim, is 2 manufacturers with huge egos, who don't want to conceed to one onother!

if the last few years tell us anything it is that neither porsche nor ferrari are going to quit, ferrari because we know there is a new car developed for next season, and porsche because if anyone remembers this used to be a porsche cup class, and to conseed it to ferrari bmw and corvette is not in their blood
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 18:02 (Ref:2731738)   #13
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I believe it was Andrew Cotton as I had an e-mail conversation about that article.

I believe the same mistake was being made then as now.

In 2003/2004 GT1 racing was reaching it's peak with many major manufactuers competing in the class.

It was inevitable costs would rise followed by withdrawels from first privateers then manufactuers.

The fact these GT1 cars could not win Le Mans, Sebring, PLM etc. overall also meant ever larger budgets could not be justified.

GT2 is similarly reaching a peak but with the seperation of GTE Pro and GTE Am there is at least a mechanism to retain privateers should manufactuers eventually pull out.

The ACO and manufactuers also appear to be acting proactively to keep costs under control and technology road car relevant.

As for GT3 IMO it appears doomed to failure as late 90's GT1's where.

Costs are exploding with little control over technology due to the relience on performance balancing.

Rather like the CLK-GTR/LM/CLR series of cars looked to be running into a financial dead end so do extreme GT3's like the SLS.

There's the very real possibilty a GTE version of the R8 could be cheaper than the GT3!
GT2 cars are roughly a half million dollars US. You can rein them back in actually if you had too. But I think a balance has been struck with the current regulations. They are adding paddle shifters to the cars for 2011 which I think is an okay update, some may not like it because of this faulty notion that it eliminates missed shifts, like that happens anyway, if so its fairly rare.

GT3 similarly can be reined back in. These are production cars after-all, OEM's know where they can cut corners. GT3 is somewhat GT2 Light, but you can fix cost by using a spec tire and buy using the FIA Driver Rating System.

Also by booting the GT3 Champion up to GT2 would keep parity as one driver wouldn't dominate. I'm not sure what you do with him, but if you win a GT3 title in America, methinks you're services are going to be desired somewhere.

By installing a price cap of say $450,000 for GT2 and $300,000 for GT3 would be moving in the right direction as well. When you tripling (or more) the cost of a production car to be made into a racing car, you are paying Union Wages I should add, plus all the engineering that's in the product. I would argue that the Robertson's have spent a small fortune trying to make the Ford GT a competitive race car over the past 2-3 years.

I don't think you can put a price on the engineering that goes on back in Germany or Ferrari in Italy, they both have private testing tracks which cost them largely nothing, they own it. This isn't the case for the average team, Penske at this NC Facility wanted to build a racetrack next door, they town said NO.

I think baked into that price for these cars is the engineering involved, that includes testing upgrades so you don't have too.

There's still a $150-200K price difference between GT2 and GT3 and I don't think its doomed at all. I think it might have reached a price zenith that it can't survive if the cars got any more expensive. You get ROI from them because a team like Graf can use the same car in French GT and a team like Toni Seiler can run both the European Cup and German GT3. That's because GT3 rules are pretty much standardized.

What your paying for is a completely SORTED car. For some that takes the "challenge" out of it, but for many, being able to roll it out of truck and only make a couple of suspension changes, plus if your going to the same tracks all the time, how many adjustments are you making? You can't make change a ton on these cars, making them somewhat expensive but cheap to operate...

Just to put it in preceptive -

I emailed Kinetic about its Kia Forte Koup ST car in Grand Am. They aren't quite running at the front yet, but are solid Top 10 cars without many changes to the suspension system (just the basics). They are getting some help in the engine dept for next season, they will be on pace next year.

For a $17,000US car they feel they can duplicate it for $150,000 turnkey.

That's a dramatic increase over the car as you get it from the dealer. The sum of its parts might not add up to that much, but the time invested into designing the rollcage, suspension and engine development; those are real man hours. You can't expect a discounted rate if you want a competitive car right out of the box.

This is professional racing, having this "Pro-Am" bent too it has held it back IMHO. Instead of demanding Gentlemen to be included, maybe they should be talented enough to hold their own, instead of writing a check and being a mobile chicane.

Raymond Narc is a perfect example. Nobody is crying about his team being held back and has won Le Mans straight up and is winning in GT Open against some very talented ex-F3 drivers, Kaffer and few others.

At the same token the Robertsons are WAY off David Murray's pace.

Last edited by dj4monie; 24 Jul 2010 at 18:21.
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 18:07 (Ref:2731741)   #14
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arakis has a lot of promise if they can keep it on the circuit!
400-500k is the limit for gt2 cars to be mass produced, anyexpensive then that and we have only full factory teams!
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Old 24 Jul 2010, 18:19 (Ref:2731744)   #15
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Originally Posted by arakis View Post
I am of he oppinion that gt2 has lot of bright futre ahead, and in my oppinion the only two factors needed to sustain the class are porsche and ferrari, and as long as one of them don't conseed the class to the other, gt2 will be fearcly competitive.

all we need for the gt2 class, or any class to remaim, is 2 manufacturers with huge egos, who don't want to conceed to one onother!

if the last few years tell us anything it is that neither porsche nor ferrari are going to quit, ferrari because we know there is a new car developed for next season, and porsche because if anyone remembers this used to be a porsche cup class, and to conseed it to ferrari bmw and corvette is not in their blood
If anything the ALMS is being very proactive on GT2 just look at what's happen the last few seasons.
  • The Panoz was reined back in post Sebring victory
  • Porsche told sleaving the 3.8 to make 4.0L was a no-no, almost took victories away. (better?)
  • ACO told BMW you can run at GT2S rules, but it must be ACO legal to run at Le Mans. RLR cars will likely be 100% ACO legal in 2011
  • Corvette told they can't have 6.0L (Like the Z06) and they can't have DFI if the production car doesn't
  • Ferrari told can't have wheel sticking out beyond the fenders at Le Mans, made changes on-site

They are policing it quite well to be honest. For Ratel it was largely a disagreement over driver rules that made most teams switch to GT Open and the others running LMS full time. I don't think the LMS teams are super happy, they get next to no TV time. At least with a well subscribed SRO run GT2 would have at least regional TV if not that plus Internet Streaming.

ACO media policy is horrendous, either the races are too long (great for purist, expensive for TV) or they aren't willing to invest back into the series (pay for TV).

There are hardly any negatives to an all GT series, most people's quibbles with Ratel are personal (much like Tony George in the US) or format related (sprint races for GT1 cars with driver/tire changes).

I watch Grand Am because I am bored and I'm mainly watching the GT battle anyway, DP's bore me. But I am watching qualifying, practice, qualifying race and Championship race in World GT1. GT3 this year has been bonkers despite Corvette winning the majority of races thus far, its still exciting and everybody is trying, hard.

Last edited by dj4monie; 24 Jul 2010 at 18:47.
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