June 1st, 2012 by Colin M Jarman
Speed Thrills! Watch some of the greatest motor action from North America as ESPN America brings you the latest action and news from the American Le Mans Series, the National Hot Rod Association, the Grand-Am Rolex Series, the Star Mazda Motorsports, the Global RallyCross, plus our regular look at the top stock car action with NASCAR Now.
AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES [ALMS]
The American Le Mans Series is the world’s premier sports car racing series. The 10-race championship is a venue for the planet’s largest auto and tire manufacturers to go head-to-head on legendary circuits, piloted by the sport’s most respected drivers and teams. The Series gives fans non-stop action on track and an open and friendly paddock, while providing manufacturers with a real-life laboratory to push the limits of automotive innovation and technology. Recent technology breakthroughs in the Series have focused on the environment.
As the Global Leader in Green Racing, ALMS contests the race to tomorrow … faster.
NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION [NHRA]
NHRA is all about diversity. With more than 20 categories of competition, including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle at the Professional level, to a multicultural array of high-octane personalities it calls world champions, NHRA thrives on unique competitors accomplishing unique achievements. NHRA has thousands of members and a strong network of member tracks throughout the nation that support countless events hosted by NHRA. NHRA is moving just as fast in popularity with auto racing fans. Second to only NASCAR in terms of attendance, fan appeal, and sponsorship commitment, NHRA is moving quickly into mainstream America and around the world.
Participation on and off the track has made the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series one of the most popular forms of racing, reaching thousands of fans, members, and sponsors a quarter-mile at a time … and at 300 mph. Now that’s going Full Throttle.
GRAND-AM ROLEX SERIES [GARS]
The Rolex Sports Car Series is the premier series run by the Grand American Road Racing Association. It is a North American-based sports car series that was founded in 2000 under the name Grand American Road Racing Championship to replace the failed United States Road Racing Championship. Rolex took over as series sponsor in 2002. It has run with a mixture of classes of sports prototypes and Grand Touring-style cars over the years. In 2003, the series debuted their custom prototype chassis, known as Daytona Prototypes, named after their premiere event, the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The series stages the North American Endurance Championship, featuring three of its premier races: at Daytona, Watkins Glen, and Indy.
STAR MAZDA MOTORSPORT [SMM]
The Star Mazda Championship is one of the most successful and cost-effective open-wheel driver development series in North America. Star Mazda race cars are high-tech, carbon-fiber race cars that have been upgraded with enhanced suspension, aerodynamics and engines; the ultra-reliable Mazda ‘Renesis’ rotary engine produces 250 horsepower, 0 to 60 acceleration in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph. Unrestricted testing promotes rapid development of a driver’s on-track, car setup and driver/engineer communications skills, and the ‘single-spec’ engineering of Star Mazda Championship race cars showcases driving talent over big budgets. Star Mazda Championship races, all 45 minutes long, include road courses, street circuits and both long and short ovals. F1-style standing starts, large fields and wheel-to-wheel racing create additional excitement.
Drivers in the series are mostly young racers moving up from karting and various open-wheel ‘ladder series’ in the U.S. Europe and South America.
GLOBAL RALLYCROSS [GRC]
The Global RallyCross Championship combines the best aspects of circuit racing, off-road racing and rally competition to deliver intense action in a variety of fan-friendly environments. Action sport stars including Travis Pastrana and Brian Deegan have described the sport as “motocross – with a roll cage.” This made-in-the-USA variation on the established European sport of rallycross pits small production-based cars against each other for door-to-door racing featuring dirt, asphalt, and a 70 foot gap jump. Drivers progress through a series of timed heats to a final race, where winner takes all. Multiple cars line up to start at once and jostle for the win over a four-lap race. (The final, or A Main race, is a five lap race).
In the heat races, drivers run three laps of one course configuration and must take a longer diversion known as the joker lap once, at their option. Global RallyCross Championship events are the only races in the world featuring an incredible 70′ gap jump on the joker lap, adding a component of excitement and risk to a key strategic racing element. The strategy for the joker lap is a critical element to the sport: a little bit like a NASCAR pit stop, every competitor has to take it – the question is when.
FORMULA RENAULT 3.5 SERIES [WSR]
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series has a wealth of talent with 26 international drivers contesting over 17 races to claim the title. The World Series by Renault 3.5 is the last step on the ladder before Formula 1. Behind the wheels of the latest aerodynamic and technical single-seat race cars, the drivers will see what they have to acquire to become complete all-rounders to race in F1, which requires more than just a high level of driving skill.
As talent isn’t enough to break into the top category of motor racing Renault Sport is increasing the number of operations to reinforce the bridges between the two. At the end of the season the champion, if he is not contracted to a competitor team, will drive for Red Bull in the F1 rookie tests.
NASCAR Now has the latest highlights, opinion, debate and analysis, as well as news from NASCAR’s drivers, crew chiefs and insiders both on and off the track. The show airs year round as a thirty minute weekday program. NASCAR Now, debuted in 2007, is broadcast in HD from Bristol, Connecticut and also has a regular segment on SportsCenter.
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