As all fans of road racing surely know by now, the Grand-Am Road Racing Series is merging with the American Le Mans Series for the 2014 season, bringing us the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship beginning with the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Although road racing has taken a back seat to organizations such as NASCAR and Formula One, 2014 could possibly be the year all of that changes. For one, cars from both series will be racing in combined classes like the Prototype class, which combines the Daytona Prototype from the Grand-Am series with the ALMS P2 and DeltaWing cars. Meanwhile, while the ALMS will be keeping the Prototype Challenge and the GT Le Mans in the new union, the new GT Daytona class will be combining the Grand-Am GT and GX classes with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and Group GT3 cars.
With that, the 2014 season opener at Daytona looks to have one of the most diverse starting grids in recent memory. Names from both series will be racing under one banner. Drivers like Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr will be mixing it up with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas to decide who is the best sports car racer in the nation.
Just as NASCAR is America's premier stock car racing series, USCC will be holding the banner as America's top road racing series. Keep that in mind considering that road racing is an unsung form of motorsport in America. It's simple when you look at it in comparison to such bodies as NASCAR and NHRA, for example. Both of those bodies have roots deep in America, where they can relate to the everyday mechanic. In the early days, it was easy to take your car and race at your local oval, while for the longest time, people have been able to drag race since the second car was invented.
But look at road racing. It's truly a great test in a driver's ability. They're on their guard the entire race, making sure they hit all their marks right in order to post a perfect lap. All things considered, that's more than what could be said about a typical NASCAR lap when you think of it. Take into consideration that a good portion of the races on the upcoming schedule last several more hours than the standard NASCAR race, and you'll see that the makeup of the sports car driver of today gives them an advantage over their oval-bound contemporaries.
The combination of the sanction bodies adds to the competition in both series and looks to boost road racing's presence in American motorsports. The move will pay in dividends for all affiliated, and 2014 could see the rise of sports car racing in America.
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