This weekend, American sports cars ends its divided era with the final ALMS race. Grand Am finished its series three weekends ago, and next time all those cars race they'll be sharing the track. So usher in the future and watch the final race live... if you can.
It's hard to imagine this is only the 16th Petit Le Mans, and the 15th run under the banner of the ALMS. Likewise, the 14th Rolex Series just finished. This last decade and a half, sports cars in America have been a house divided.
It will be a bittersweet finale. Most notably due to this week's loss of Sean Edwards in Australia. NGT has withdrawn their #30 GTC Porsche which Edwards had campaigned this season to 4th in the driver's standings, despite missing two rounds out of respect for their friend.
Also we will be seeing the final outing of top spec prototype machinery in an IMSA-sanctioned, at least for the foreseeable future. And sadly, things go out with a whimper, not with a bang. The series has had only two full time P1 competitors, with Muscle Milk finishing ahead of Dyson every single race this season, rarely offering up a good fight. Swiss squad Rebellion racing returns this weekend after competing just the first three rounds before withdrawing to work on next year's world championship campaign. The DeltaWing raced most of the season as well, though spent basically the whole time self-immolating or off pace. It led exactly once in the rain, but was close to P2 pace (where it will be competing next season). Hope for a swan song battle here, it will be one of very few this season and what we remember from the end of the series.
Down the field, Level 5 has already wrapped up the team championship, though principal Scott Tucker has to defend from ESM's Scott Sharp in the driver's race. Prototype Challenge is wide open, with CORE and PR1 tied and BAR1 just 7 points behind. Mike Guasch has a bit more breathing room in the driver's race, but Chris Cumming, Jonathan Bennet, and Tristan Nunez are all in striking distance if Guasch fails to finish the race.
GT is already nicely buttoned up for Corvette already having won half the races this season and sitting a full 40 points ahead of BMW. Drivers Antonio García and Jan Magnussen have a 16 point margin over Dirk Müller, so they still must finish if BMW gets a good result. And finally in GTC, Flying Lizard and AJR are separated by just 2 points with NGT still mathematically in the hunt. Nelson Canache, Jr. and Spencer Pumpelly are the only ones who can catch Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil if they overcome their 16 point deficit.
If you want to watch live, you better hope you have Fox Sports 2 (spoiler alert, you probably don't). Sadly, even if you get it, you'll still be missing two and a half hours of the race. You might be lucky enough to see the live stream on alms.com, but that's only if they don't geo-block the broadcast in the states. If you're like me, you'll end up waiting to watch the rebroadcast or the online archive on YouTube.
The future is coming, enjoy the last of the present, and prepare for the future. It won't be the same next year, but it will definitely be bigger. Have a favorite memory from years past, or something you're looking most forward to? Let us know in Kinja below.