The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) is a sports car racing series based in the United States and Canada. It consists of a series of endurance and sprint races, and was created in the spirit of the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Teams compete in one of four classes: LMP1 and LMP2 for Le Mans Prototypes, and GT1 and GT2 for Grand Touring cars.
The series was created by Georgia-based businessman Don Panoz and ran its first season in 1999. Panoz created a partnership with the Automobile Club de L’Quest (ACO), the organizers of the 24 hours of Le Mans, to begin a 10-hour race in the spirit of Le Mans, dubbed the Petit Le Mans.
The inaugural Petit Le Mans took place in 1998 as a part of the Professional SportsCar Racing series, in which Panoz was an investor. For 1999, the series changed its name to the American Le Mans Series, and adopted the ACO's rulebook. The partnership with the ACO allows ALMS teams to earn automatic entries in the Le Mans 24 Hours. This was a practice that began with the inaugural Petit Le Mans, a practice that continues today, where 1st and 2nd place teams in each class earn entries to the next year's 24 Hours.
The regulations are as far as possible the same like in the 24h Le Mans but is just changed in a few passages. The race length varies from 100minutes at some city races up to 12hours at the 12h Sebring. Mostly the length is 2hours 45minutes. Every year the season starts with the 12h Sebring and the highlight is Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta) in autumn.