So what is Ford “teasing” us with? A new Sportscar challenger? Inquiring minds want to know!
From the Sebring Testing…. Great to see Honda Performance back! Thanks Greg Pickett and the other entrants – can’t wait for the ALMS again!
My prayers have been answered!! Check this out… (Now if they only let racers build their own!)
The American Le Mans Series over the weekend announced its association with the Unlimited Racing Championship (URC) as the new “Heritage Series” for the ALMS’s 2012 season and beyond. The URC will feature identically built NuArt CanAm cars reminiscent of the “glory days” of the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am) from the 1960s and ’70s.
According to URC, the NuArt CanAm cars are “purpose-built from the ground up and engineered for safety, aerodynamics, driver comfort and speed. These magnificent cars feature spectacular 700-plus hp, big-block V8 engines and state-of-the-art aerospace-quality components with an emphasis on safety.”
“This project was years in the making,” said Richard Nauert, founder of the URC and designer of the NuArt CanAm car. “We analyzed the original Can-Am cars, remaining true to the visual, as well as spiritual concept.
“Components like big-block engines, 12-inch steel brakes, and Can-Am intakes were just some of the historical elements we maintained in the NuArt CanAm car. Despite the tribute to the original cars, at the same time, they are particularly relevant to the ALMS because we loaded them with modern technology. The technology is specifically to make them safe, have longevity, and be flexible for a wide range of driver skills.”
The new URC series plans to feature identically prepared NuArt CanAm cars, racing against one another on original historical Can-Am circuits around North America. The format includes eight races: two 30-minute races on each of four ALMS circuits beginning in 2012. Cars will be fully prepped for owners and drivers by the URC series organizer and ready to race at each venue.
Initial cars are offered at $485,000.
Jaguar is working on a plan to mount its first bid in more than 20 years for overall honors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The British sports-car manufacturer’s owner, Ratan Tata, and bosses at Jaguar parent company Tata Motors are known to be evaluating a return to the prototype ranks with an all-new LMP1. It is understood that a decision has been made in principle to mount an attack on the race at some point in the future. Ratan Tata is known to be a fan of Le Mans and was making comments about the value of a race that Jaguar has won seven times almost as soon as he bought the company from Ford in 2008. Jaguar subsequently returned to Le Mans in 2010 with Paul Gentilozzi’s RSR team, which continues to race its XKR GTE contender in the American Le Mans Series. The architects of that program at Jaguar–former managing director Mike O’Driscoll and head of global marketing boss CJ O’Donnell–have both left the company. New Tata Motors CEO Carl-Peter Forster, who formerly worked for BMW and General Motors in Europe, is said to support the LMP1 program. Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110714/ALMS/110719941#ixzz1S6CsGLhk
Highcroft Racing on Monday announced that it has withdrawn from the 24 Hours of Le Mans and has parted ways with manufacturer partner Honda after five successful seasons in the American Le Mans Series.
Honda chose Connecticut-based Highcroft to run its Acura-branded cars when the Japanese automaker made its ALMS debut in 2007. The partnership went on to win the ALMS championship in 2009 and 2010. Highcroft and Honda captured a total of 11 wins, nine pole positions and 28 podium finishes in 42 races.
However, because of the situation in Japan brought about by the recent earthquake and tsunami, Honda is apparently unable to provide Highcroft Racing with adequate financial support to continue. As a result, Highcroft, which was already without a major sponsor after losing Tequila Patrón during the off-season, was forced to withdraw from next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We have had an amazing relationship with all the associates at Honda–Acura, Honda Performance Development and Wirth Research [which designed the car]–over the past five years, and it is with deep regret that our amazing run has come to an end,” said Highcroft owner Duncan Dayton. “We certainly appreciate the massive impact the earthquake and tsunami has had on the people of Japan and the huge challenges facing Japanese business. It appears this may have contributed to Honda’s decision, and we fully respect and understand their position.”
Dayton also commented on the team’s decision to withdraw from Le Mans.
“Le Mans is one of the greatest races in the world, but it requires significant financial and physical resources to compete at the highest levels,” he said. “Whatever we do, we want to be able to do it properly, and it just isn’t viable at this time without proper backing.”
Highcroft Racing is seeking partnerships with new manufacturers and plans to be back on the track as soon as possible.
“For our future, we need to take the next step in the development of our team,” Dayton said. “The team is now in a position to start with a clean slate and work towards our next championship assault with new partners. We still have very big goals and ambitions–including additional victories in the ALMS, as well as Le Mans and IndyCar.”