Sunday, January 29, 2012

Is The Rest of Grand-Am Worth Watching?

This is the only Grand-Am Rolex Series race I follow all year. I watch ALMS and LMS. Are the other GA races worth catching up with?

What is the field like when you remove the 24hr one-offs?

The hordes of Porsches are a bit off-putting and for whatever reason I've not got into this GT field as much as I would at Sebring or Le Mans (despite many of the same names). Maybe that's unfamiliarity with some teams/drivers.

This DP battle is epic though. Do the races tend to be close?


Anonymous said...

I've found that ALMS and SCCA World Challenge provide far better racing than Grand-Am. To me, the rest of the season is rather bland.

Pat W said...

Yeah I watch ALMS and LMS. Heard good things about Challenge but never had the opportunity to watch any of it.
Thx for the input, maybe I won't spend the time looking for the other races then.

Allen Wedge said...

I'd say to not dismiss Grand-Am altogether. In the past it was a little like IndyCar with a good deal of Ganassi winning DP, but more parity than it seems.

HOWEVER, IndyCar and Grand-Am both have in common that they just changed all the rules. For Grand-Am I've always enjoyed watching it and will like it even more with additional GT competition with the GT3 cars now getting in.

At least this year I'm looking to see how Chevy rebounds from Daytona. I wouldn't set alarms to watch it in the middle of the night, but if you're free its worth the watching. I've at least always preferred Grand-Am over ALMS from a fan standpoint in that 2 classes means more competition whereas ALMS is practically pointless, 1-3 cars in each class.

Pat W said...

I'd like to watch the Indy race if nothing else, so I may seek out the others but not as a priority, I'll see what time I have. It would help for ARFL too.. :)

The Speedgeek said...

Been meaning to comment on this all week long.

For me, ALMS has always been better than GrandAm, in technical intrigue (I like the wide open nature of the ALMS) and in overall general quality of the field (more, and bigger teams in ALMS, for the most part). Over the last couple of years, that's slowly swung the other way. With ALMS introducing two spec-ish series (LMPC and GT-C) to bolster car counts, while the LMP1 and LMP2 classes have dwindled down to 3-4 cars per class at most races, and sometimes even less, that's been a huge strike against ALMS. Also a strike against ALMS is that they've only just now started to (seemingly reluctantly) allow cars other than Porsche 911s in the GT-C class, when they could have gone the full-on FIA GT3 route that GrandAm is starting to embrace (mentioned this in my GT preview). With the re-design of the Daytona Prototypes for this year (which I really liked), I've started to soften my stance against the GrandAm even more. I think that although car counts may still be small this year (I'd expect around 12 DPs at most races, and maybe 20-25 GTs, only maybe 6-8 of which have much of a shot of winning any given race), GrandAm is on the way up. Meanwhile, ALMS, with the slights that they've suffered at the hands of the FIA (really, Jean Todt? WEC races on BOTH weekends either side of Petit Le Mans? In the words of Nancy Kerrigan, "whhhhhhyyyyy?"), may only be around for a brief time longer, unless they do something drastic. GrandAm is going to be where it's at by 2014. And, no, I don't feel all that great saying that about a NASCAR-owned series of any sort.

Pat W said...

So now might be a good time to dip into a few races. I saw Homestead last year because Blundell and United Autosport entered, it was okay, not stellar but not awful and I blamed the track more than anything.

I've never really liked their approach to GT, including cars which aren't really GT cars in their build. And they seem to have been slowed down quite a lot. I mean if you think some of the ALMS GTC Porsches are Grand-Am cars with little/no mods (not sure if that's still true but it was recently), and compare their pace to ALMS GT. A true GT3 not pared down to GA specs is much closer to GT2/GTE. But if the racing is good I suppose it doesn't matter, I've not seen them but I've been told FIA GT3 races are very good.

You're right in that Grand-Am stole a march on ALMS with the GT3 move. I remember reading a few times over the last year or two that Todt had met with NASCAR/Grand-Am people. I wish he'd met with ALMS/ELMS to help them out. I'm not sure how it works that you get into bed with one set of people (ACO) and then do deals with their rivals (Grand-Am) leaving ACO partners IMSA in the lurch somewhat. But that's the FIA all over.