The ALMS and Grand-Am hybrid series beginning in 2014 has just announced its schedule. A 12-race schedule that everybody will not be completely satisfied with. But it's only normal. While it's a 12 race schedule, each class will only run at 11 venues.
That's right some tracks are deemed too narrow for the whole gang to come through. If you have followed Grand-Am in the past this should be nothing new to you. ALMS fans however need to grasp this concept. The 2 street course venues; Long Beach and Detroit will only have partial classes. VIR while not a street course has a rather narrow track, and there will only be a partial field there too. The way we see it, except for that Oak tree at one of the corners, Virginia International Raceway does have very generous runoff areas on the majority of the circuit. We would have elected to reduce the car count at Watkins Glen instead of at VIR. VIR however presents a very interesting scenario for the drivers in the GTE/GTLM class - the chance at an overall victory. LMPC will also run at VIR but in a separate race. All the factory GT drivers will have this race highlighted on their schedule.
Considering what happened at Baltimore this year during the ALMS race, we would have preferred to not see anymore street courses unless they were made wider. But at least we're free of Baltimore and of its train tracks.
One thing we are happy about the schedule is, the absence of Lime Rock Park. Yeah it's a racing Mecca in the Northeast, but we have our gripes about this circuit. That place used to be so bumpy it was like we could feel the bumps from our couch as the prototypes were bounding over the undulations. And it was just too easy for a competitor to go a lap down, way to sap off the energy of a race fan when your team gets buried by the track.
When you consider there's a 24hr race, a 12hr race, a 10hr race, a 6hr race, and either Laguna or Road America could possibly last 4 hrs, this schedule is a marathon. An expensive one at that too. Such a schedule can not be hoped to be consumed by casual fans, but rather the endurance loyalists.
2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Schedule:
Jan 25-26-Daytona International Speedway (24hrs)
Mar 15----Sebring International Raceway (12hrs)
Apr 12----Long Beach Street Circuit (Only LMP2, DP and GTLM)
May 4-----Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
May 31----Detroit Belle Isle (Only LMP2, DP, LMPC, and GTD)
Jun 29----Watkins Glen International (6hrs)
Jul 13----Canadian Tire Motorsport
Jul 25----Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug 10----Road America
Aug 24----Virginia International Raceway (Only GTLM and GTD, and then LMPC)
Sep 20----Circuit of The Americas
Oct 4-----Road Atlanta (10hrs)