ALMSDriver ColumnsPhotosSam Tickell (Editor)Sports and GT

ALMS and Grand Am through time in 19 exclusive shots

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RacerViews photographer Jeff Kapic lets us into his archive to look back at the ALMS and Grand Am. His photos take us from beginning to end of both series.

1

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2008 and the ALMS has been on a high.  Porsche and Penske have taken the competiton to Audi.  Corsa had exciting plans (even if they never happened) with their Zytek and Intersport could take an odd class win with their Lola.  It was the second peak of the Series before it started to decline

2

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 Corvette was a mainstay of the Series and a crowd favourite.  Most of their competition was through the GT1 class, beating out the Ferraris, Saleens and Astons to be the truly dominant manufacturer in the class

3

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 Dyson was also a mainstay in the LMP categories.  They had partnerships with MG, Porsche and finally Mazda, taking the odd wins on the way, and the 2011 Championship

4

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BMW’s M3s were there at the start and the end of the Series.  Always controversial as some thought they weren’t GT cars as such, they proved to be a competitive piece of kit

5

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 The Muscle Milk Cytosport team entered the Series with a Porsche RS Spyder, taking 2nd in the Championship in 2010. After the withdrawal of the factory Acura and the end of Porsche’s involvement, they were able to take the 2012 and 2013 Championships with their HPD.

6

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 Highcroft was perhaps one of the most surprising teams to enter the series.  After years running an old Lola, they were chosen to run an Acura.  Against more fancied rivals they showed their class, taking out the 2009 and 2010 Championships.  Lack of funding robbed the sport of a full time effort from this team.

7

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 Flying Lizard ran the Porsche GT program as a semi factory entry for years, taking three driver’s titles and two team’s titles

8

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Michael Shank Racing, a Grand Am stalwart never achieved the Championship success they deserved but did take out the 2012 Daytona 24.

9

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 GT3 rules never really arrived in America during the ALMS/Grand Am time but a modified Audi R8 did take to the Grand Am tracks

10

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 Perhaps the most recognisable GT car from Grand Am was the Mazda RX8.  The tube frame car had the rotary scream and took out two Daytona wins – in 2008 and 2010

11

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 Grand Am allowed teams and tuners to create their own GT cars, without having factory backing or the need for a larger customer base.  It allowed teams like Stevenson to take on Porsche teams with their own Camaro

12

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 Intersport raced in the ALMS from the start to near the end when financial woes caused their exit.  IN 2001 they ran the Lola B2K with branding from their Banana Joes club.  Lola would have the same fate as Intersport – a strong supporter of the Series except for when finance would step in the way

13

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 The American manufacturers never really got behind the European LMP rules.  Perhaps it was the failure of Cadillac to achieve any real results with their two versions of an LMP900 car in the early days that scared off others

14

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The Panoz always tried something different.  Their LMP900 car was not as good as the Audis they were competing against but the car was a fan favourite and would score the occassional win

15

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 The PTG BMW is a personal favourite of mine and one of the most recognisable GT cars from the early days of the Series

16

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 Dyson’s early days in the ALMS saw them run the Riley and Scott with an Elan engine in the back.  The package would not be overly competitive but would open them up to manufacturer interest in the coming years

17

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The Panoz’s popularity would be evident with teams wanting to run the car for many years.  After the factory stopped running the cars, teams like JML and Gunnar would take the car to the track

 

18

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 The other American GT1 car – the Saleen would achieve great success with Konrad taking second in the ALMS Championship in 2001.  The car also ran in the Grand Am Championship before the rule changes to DP and GTD

19

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 The team and THE car of the ALMS. Audi through Joest and Champion would dominate with the R8.  Through the life of the car, it would take over 63 wins from 79 races, taking the ALMS Championships from 2000-2005.  In 2006 the Audi R10 would take the reigns on this legendary car

Photos by Jeff Kapic, words By Sam Tickell, November 2013

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