The End of An Era
The weekend of January 26th will be the beginning of the end of an era. The 51st running of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona will mark the start of the last season of Grand-Am racing as it is known today. 2013 is the last season that the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona will be part of the Rolex Sports Car Series because in 2014 Grand-Am will merge with the American Le Mans Series.
The Grand-Am Series has been running since 2000 and in the last 12 years it has provided us with much excitement. One of the recent highlights was the Brumos #59 Porsche winning the GT Class points championship, in 2011. The Brumos #59 Porsche is one of the most iconic racing Porsches in recent years and has helped make the Grand-Am Series what it is today.
Grand-Am racing has also featured a celebrity in recent years. Patrick Dempsey has been racing in the series driving a Mazda RX-7. Patrick Dempsey is as close as you can get to a modern day Steve McQueen and while he races a Mazda, he is known to enjoy driving Porsches as well.
In 2014 Gran-Am and American Le Mans will merge into one racing series. This will mean that there will be some changes to make the merger work, but it should make for quite a racing series. While Grand-Am will not exist in the same way, the future should provide some exciting racing, especially as Porsche and Ferrari are set to enter the top level of Le Mans in 2014 (with the cars also probably racing in the merged racing series). I think this merger will help to spring board GT endurance racing to be even more popular here in the United States were NASCAR is the most popular racing series currently.