Video: 2003 American Le Mans Year in Racing
The American Le Mans Series, or ALMS for short, was a race series that ran from 1999 to 2013 and was based primarily on the rules used for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Because of that it featured both prototype race cars and production-based GT cars in a mix of endurance and sprint races all throughout North America with a few races overseas at times.
Being based on Le Mans rules many of the same cars that would compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans would compete in ALMS and the series winners would also go on to get an automatic entry into the big endurance race. This meant a lot of amazing race cars being entered into the series and some great racing.
The 2003 season in particular was
notable for having the Le Mans-dominating Audi R8 versus the
thundering Panoz LMP1 in the top tier LMP900 category with a cameo
appearance by the sleek and sexy Bentley Speed 8 at the 12 Hours of
Sebring. The smaller LMP675 class was a spoiler at times for the
supposedly faster LMP900s, occasionally fighting for the race lead
and even a possible overall win despite their weaker engines.
The production-based GTS class on the other hand saw two legendary marques slugging it out with Chevrolet fielding the C5R Corvette – winner of the previous 2 Le Mans 24 Hour races in its category – against the sleek Ferrari 550 Maranellos run by the famed Prodrive racing team. Filling out the GTS category would be the Dodge Viper and Saleen S7R.
GT was dominated by the omnipresent Porsche 911 but Ferrari would also be fielding the sexy 360GT Modena to take the fight to the perennial favorite from Stuttgart.
All in all, a great field of awesome race cars that are well-worth revisiting if you're a motorsports fan. If you like this summary video then you'll want to check out this YouTube playlist for archived videos of the full races: