Steering—and peering—into the future of DTM-style touring car competition in North America, GRAND-AM founder Jim France and GRAND-AM President/CEO Ed Bennett joined executives from the European DTM series and the Japanese Super GT series over the weekend at the DTM event at the Norisring in Nuremburg, Germany.
Collectively, the executives form a steering committee aimed at developing the technical specifications for the future of touring car racing on three continents.
During the weekend, the committee announced that all three series—DTM, Super GT and the North American series—will have identical specifications beginning in 2017.
In March, GRAND-AM Road Racing and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced an agreement with Internationale Tourenwagen-Rennen (ITR e.V.), which administers DTM racing, to create a North American version of the popular German touring car series. The North American series is targeted to launch in 2015 or 2016.
In this type of racing platform, prerequisites are competitive grids and related manufacturer marketing support; this platform is designed for manufacturers to showcase their brand to fans and potential customers.
The new North American series is expected to often run in conjunction with United SportsCar Racing events. In fact, the next committee meeting will be held at the inaugural United SportsCar event, the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
"In the new United SportsCar Racing series, we have some great tracks like Daytona and Sebring," Bennett said. "We have planned to have a rotation between our three regions. The next [committee] meeting will be held in the USA at the end of January in Daytona."
A committee meeting also is planned for the summer of 2014 at the 1000-kilometer Super GT race at Japan's Suzuka circuit.
"This is a manufacturer-based platform," Bennett emphasized, "and we hope to receive manufacturer commitments to ensure a proper field of cars - and the related marketing support to make the series a reality. Along those lines, we held our initial presentation with the Japanese manufacturers Nissan, Toyota and Honda at Norisring over the weekend. "This is an exciting concept, but there is much more work remaining on the horizon."
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