The unofficial first race of the United SportsCar Racing Series (USCR) is taking place this weekend at Road America. Except, it's not a race. It is largely an open test weekend, with two individual series' racing both today and tomorrow. The GRAND-AM Road Racing Series (GA) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) are sharing the facility and the paddock for the first time in history. Additionally, the Porsche GT3 Cup Series, IMSA Lites, and the Continental Tire Series are in attendance. It is very busy.
(Photo: Track9 / Trevor Andrusko)
The question that everybody hopes will be answered this weekend is how well these two series' will merge. So far, everything seems to be going to plan and the weekend is running smoothly. Unfortunately, Road America is a track that is highly dependent on horsepower, which is not the greatest scenario for comparing times. Along with that, the ALMS P2 cars are open to use whichever tires they want, while GA Daytona Prototypes are required to run Continental rubber. The ALMS PC class is also limited to Continental tires, which is where the first and only apples to apples lap time comparison can take place.
The official class structure of the unified racing series beginning next year is ALMS P2 / GA DP, ALMS PC, ALMS GT, and GA GT / ALMS GTC. Translated to next year's terms, that is Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC), GT Le Mans (GTLM), and GT Daytona (GTD). Lap times comparisons from this weekend at Road America are as follows, in order of the future class structure:
In ALMS P2, the fastest time is 1:54.806 (~ 126 mph), by the #552 HPD ARX-03b.
In GRAND-AM DP, the fastest time is 2:00.028 (~ 121 mph), by the #42 BMW Riley.
In ALMS PC, the fastest time is 1:57.630 (~ 123 mph), by the #05 ORECA FLM09.
In ALMS GT, the fastest time is 2:03.410 (~ 117 mph), by the #93 SRT Viper GTS-R.
In GRAND-AM GT, the fastest time is a 2:10.166 (~ 112 mph), by the #73 Porsche GT3 Cup.
In ALMS GTC, the fastest time is a 2:11.931 (~ 110 mph), by the #45 Porsche GT3 Cup.
Obviously there is work to be done. Especially considering that the time difference between the DP and P2 cars is more than five seconds. The PC class is currently faster than the DP class too, on identical tires. Granted, most of these times are preliminary test results and things will change once all of the cars are running on the same rubber compound.
GTLM and PC will remain largely unchanged for the most part. GTD can be modified with the usage of air intake restrictions or added weight. Current GRAND-AM GX will either be eliminated or brought up to GTD specifications.
Green flag for today's GRAND-AM Road Racing Series race is scheduled for 5:00 PM ET. The American Le Mans Series will take the green tomorrow at 3:00 PM ET.
Your regularly scheduled uber galleries will continue after this weekend at Road America. Stay tuned.