Coming off the merger announcement between Grand-Am Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series, 2013 marks the end of 15-straight years of ALMS sportscar racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (nee Mosport).
Formed in 1999 as successor to the IMSA GT Championship, the ALMS was realized by then-track-owner Dr. Don Panoz, who formed the series to partner alongside the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Under the guidance of Panoz, the series flourished as home to the top sportscar drivers in the world and feeder to the parent race in Sarthe, France.
The ALMS has been the source of many memories at Mosport, including the blistering track record set in 2008 by Rinaldo “Dindo” Capello in his Audi R10 TDI P1 car, at 1:04.094 in qualifying. His teammate Marco Werner set the official fastest race time at 1:05.823. From Ferrari 333SP prototypes to Steve Saleen’s S7 and the Panoz Esperante, fans have witnessed some of the most iconic race cars ever built at the circuit in Bowmanville.
Despite questions surrounding car classifications for next years unified series, this 2013 ALMS season has emerged with one of the strongest lineups ever. The SRT Viper GTS-R returns for its first full-season since leaving the series in 2001, while the P1 category has expanded to six cars, including the ever-popular DeltaWing and FIA World Endurance privateer champions Rebellion Racing. The ALMS has long been known for a strong domestic and European showing, and this year proves no different.
Under the leadership of owner Carlo Fidani and Canadian Tire, the new track renovations will surely provide fans with an even more memorable track experience this year and moving forward. Although the new United SportsCar Racing Series has yet to unveil its official 2014 calendar, it would be hard pressed to think such a historically significant and world-class circuit would be left off the list.