MotoIQ’s guide to the American Le Mans Series

MotoIQ's Guide to the American Le Mans Series

By Efrain Olivares

 If you play Forza, or Grand Turismo, you are no doubt familiar with the cars of the American Le Mans Series. Similar to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series which we profiled in January, the ALMS is a multi-class endurance sportscar championship with prototype cars from Audi, Lola, and HPD, as well as GT cars based on the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, Lotus Evora, Ferrari F458 Italia, and BMW M3.


 alms guide
The start of the 2011 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, which was ultimately won by the privateer ORECA team in a Peugeot 908 HDI FAP

The season begins with its biggest race of the year – the 60th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. If you don't know, Sebring is one of the biggest endurance races in the world, and over the years has been the scene of epic showdowns between manufacturers such as Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Audi,BMW, Acura, and Peugeot. This year, the 12 Hours of Sebring is also a part of the new World Endurance Championship, which is the FIA-sanctioned worldwide championship for sports cars. 


ALMS multi class racing 
Mixed-class endurance racing has been one of the hallmarks of the 12 Hours of Sebring for over 60 years. Ford, Chevrolet, Porsche, and Lola – all seen here – still battle for class and overall honors each season.

What this means for the spectators on the track and those watching from home is the addition of nearly 30 extra prototype and GT cars – including Audi Sport and their R18s, which are the heavy favorites to win the event overall. 

Even though Sebring International Raceway is almost 4 miles in length, with over 60 cars entered, traffic will be a large factor in the Prototype and GT class battles
Now, here is where it gets fun. The WEC will have classes for LMP1, LMP2, GT-Pro and GT-Am. But instead of scoring them with the same cars from the ALMS, they will be scored separately – so, technically, there will be NINE different classes of cars competing. If it sounds confusing, that's because it is. For the purposes of this intro, we'll focus on the season-long ALMS entrants. 


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