ALMS changes class system for 2010

The American Le Mans Series is to overhaul its class regulations for 2010 in a bid to improve the level of competition and the size of the entry

ALMS changes class system for 2010

The current LMP1 and LMP2 classes are to merge into a single LMP class, with performance adjustments made to ensure that the cars can all compete equally.

However for the series' premier Sebring 12 Hours and Petit Le Mans events the championship will revert to the ACO's standard LMP1 and LMP2 rules as the ALMS is keen that both races remain fully compatible with the Le Mans 24 Hours.

An additional prototype division will be created in the ALMS for the ORECA-built Formula Le Mans cars used on the Le Mans Series bill in Europe. This one-make class will be known as LMP Challenge.

With the decline of GT1, the GT2 class is to be rebranded as GT but will otherwise remain unchanged. The GT Challenge class for Porsche GT3 Cup cars, introduced this year as a grid-boosting measure, will be retained, with the rules opened slightly to allow other varieties of the Porsche GT3 to compete.

"The new format for 2010 will create more opportunities for more teams and manufacturers to participate in the American Le Mans Series, while at the same time providing fans with the chance to see new cars, teams and drivers in both prototype and GT competition," said championship boss Scott Atherton.

"There is no question that developments in the economy - and especially the auto industry - have changed the business environment now and for the foreseeable future. For any organisation to remain 'status quo' is a likely death sentence.

"The global economic situation has created a new paradigm that is requiring all businesses to take innovative approaches to how they must operate going forward. We believe we have implemented changes that will enable the series and our participants to thrive."

After a highly successful 2008 season, the ALMS has struggled this year due to the departure of Audi and Porsche from the prototype ranks, and with the decline in GT1 worldwide.

The introduction of the Challenge class has kept fields in the 20-30 range for much of the season, but the decision to fall in line with the ACO and introduce greater difference in performance between the LMP1 and LMP2 cars has meant that only the two LMP1 Acuras have been in contention for race victories since Sebring.

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