The American Le Mans Series has published the Sebring entry list as things stand right now, and it's more than a little worrying.
If you're interested in running the American Le Mans Series, 2009 is the season to try. Acura's LMP1 program has no guarantee of immediate success, and with Audi gone a privateer team can really make a splash.
The same goes for LMP2, with only one Acura left and all the Porsches gone.
If you want to win the LMGT1 championship, you'd basically just need to enter and survive every race.
And of course, LMGT2 is always wide open.
And yet, the Sebring Entry list shows an LMP2 field that more closely resembles 2008's usual LMP1 field in size. What's more, only three of the LMP1 competitors can reliably be expected to field full-season entries—the Acura teams, and Intersport.
We've heard that Creation Autosportif plans to move the ALMS, but where are they on the Sebring list? Are they waiting until St. Pete? Are they just unwilling to go up against Audi and Peugeot? We have a new LMP1 entry coming in late season, but its not exactly helpful to the field as things stand now.
The action is sure to be good in both LMP classes this year, but the lack of entries may cheapen even the best racing.
Even with the financial crisis, I'm struggling to comprehend why nobody seems willing to try and take advantage of the openness of the ALMS championships this year.
Perhaps I'm overreacting, and some teams that just don't wish to compete with the diesels will be popping up for St. Petersburg, but as someone who recently switched his favorite race series from IndyCar to ALMS, this is more than a little disheartening.
Good luck to the American Le Mans Series in 2009.