Porsche: The Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen automaker continues to make news. Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean all those articles from the financial pages. The whole issue of Penske and should-I-stay-or-should-I-go from the ALMS is purely based on what the Porsche board decides whether or not Weissach should get in to LMP1 with a possible hybrid. Porsche has always based its reputation on engineering excellence, and showing up at Le Mans or the ALMS with a purely petrol powerplant just isn't newsworthy anymore. As Wendy likes to say, profits! Penske would still like to win the 24 Hours of Daytona and a Porsche-powered Riley would do nicely, although Penske's participation in the Grand Am series won't make much of a difference as far as attracting more interest from the average fan. The cars are still ugly. The production GT cars that Porsche produces are another matter. When the world economy takes a dive, history has dictated that the more expensive prototypes are ditched for less expensive production-based GT cars. Porsche has done quite well in that category. However, it may have glutted the market by producing too many GT3 Cup cars. One-marque series are profitable in good times but tend to suffer when the purse strings are tight. More traditional GT venues such as the LMS and ALMS, even Grand Am, will have Porsche participation, although there well could be fewer purpose-built mounts such as the RSR and Grand Am versions of the GT3 constructed by Weissach. That leaves the RS Spyder from the LMP2 class looking for a home. Dyson Racing bailed on the Porsche connection at the end of the 2008 ALMS season after having a rather uncompetitive run. But what did Dyson expect, the same treatment afforded to Penske? That was never in the offering. Dyson does better with going it alone and grabbing the headlines with an occasional upset over the factory teams, such as when they beat Audi with the little MG power at Sears Point a few years ago. Those moments are forever.
BMW: Finally, the new GT2 car has arrived and underwent testing at Sebring. Even in these difficult economic times, Munich gets it that a presence back in the ALMS is needed for the enthusiast base. Just ask Corvette where the car club corrals are always packed.