published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Raceway announces new racing series
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING - Over the years, the 12 Hours of Sebring has been run under a number of different sanctioning bodies. The original once-around-the-clock classic was overseen by the American Automobile Association. In ensuing years it was sanctioned by the Automobile Racing Club of Florida, the International Motor Sports Association, SPORTScar and most recently by the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
In September of last year, the ALMS merged with the GRAND-AM Road Racing to create a single sanctioning group that will oversee the 12 Hours of Sebring beginning in 2014
Thursday, officials of the newly-combined group including GRAND-AM President and CEO Ed Bennett, ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton and SME Senior Partner Ed O'Hara who collectively introduced United SportsCar Racing. They met with journalists and others at the Chateau Elan Hotel and Conference Center's Le Mans Ballroom, located alongside the Sebring International Raceway's famous Hairpin turn to announce the new name and reveal the new logo.
To be called United SportsCar Racing, the series will debut next year with the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"The new name says it all," said Bennett. "In only six months since we announced the merger, GRAND-AM and the ALMS have taken huge strides to become one organization that will redefine sports car racing in North America. United SportsCar Racing reflects the fundamental spirit of how we are working together toward a common goal," Bennett said.
The announcement culminated a four-month project. The logo, with its race helmet-like imagery, was developed to be an icon with a modern feel, representing a part of motorsports that is immediately recognizable.
The effort involved New York-based SME Branding, one of the nation's leading agencies with a client list that includes the NFL, NHL, UFC, the New York Yankees, Kentucky Derby, Madison Square Garden and NASCAR. To come up with the concept SME developers conducted extensive research from participants as well as fan input.
They used the information to develop the series' name, logo and brand identity. The selection of United SportsCar Racing was derived from a submission by Cocoa, Fla.'s Louis Satterlee in GRAND-AM's "Name The Future" fan contest.
Atherton said the group began the branding process by listening to manufacturers, corporate partners, drivers, teams, tracks - and the fans. He called the input "invaluable" in leading to the final decision
"When it came to the branding of our newly merged entities, we felt we had one chance to get it right - and now we believe we have done just that," Atherton said
O'Hara said the goal of the new name and logo was an effort to be modern, aspirational, authentic, unique and obviously, exciting.
"We want fans and the sports car industry to feel like they 'own' this new brand," he said
The panel also announced that the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) would be retained as the sanctioning body for United SportsCar Racing. They too revealed an updated version of the iconic IMSA logo.
Co-founded in 1969 by John Bishop and the late Bill France Sr., IMSA also will sanction the new organization's various support and ladder series, including the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Ferrari Challenge, the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Series, the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin and the newly announced Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo.
As part of the presentation, the new competition class names for 2014 were announced:
- The lead Prototype (P) class, combining GRAND-AM's Daytona Prototypes plus the ALMS' P2 and DeltaWing cars;
- Prototype Challenge (PC), retained from the current ALMS class structure;
- GT Le Mans (GTLM), consisting of the ALMS' current GT class;
- GT Daytona (GTD), consisting of GRAND-AM's current GT class and the ALMS' current GTC class;
- GX, coming over from the current GRAND-AM structure.
Saturday's upcoming Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida will be the last to be run under the banner of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
NASCAR (by: RICK - 3/15/2013)
HOW ABOUT BRINGING " NASCAR" HERE, FOR A ROAD COURSE !!!
12 HOURS OF SEBRING (by: jOHN DOE - 3/15/2013)
ALL SAID AND DONE IT IS STILL ROAD RACING.
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