May 1, 2020: [Press Conference] The Great American Merger

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Stareagle
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May 1, 2020: [Press Conference] The Great American Merger

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Roger Penske and Jim France, two of the most powerful men in American motorsport, made a stunning announcement on Friday that will change American motorsports as it is currently known.

However, their show was stolen by a special guest.

France and Penske were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to announce a merger of their interests into the North American Motorsports Alliance (NAMSA). The new organization will include most of America's biggest motorsports series, including IndyCar, NASCAR, and IMSA.

"This is going to be a positive development for auto racing in the United States, but more importantly, it will be good for American fans," Penske said. "They will still see the racing they love, but with coordinated schedules and a chance for organized driver-development plans."

As part of the deal, the France family is giving up control of NASCAR after 72 years. It will become a subsidiary of the Penske-controlled NAMSA.

"We have had a great run, and NASCAR will always be an important part of our family's legacy," said France, 77. "But, after long family discussions, we've decided to return to what we always wanted to do - the day-to-day business of racing."

The France family will retain control of International Speedway Corporation and plan to start France-Kennedy Racing - a team that will enter cars in NASCAR and IMSA.

Penske confirmed there are changes in NASCAR's future, but they will not be immediate.

"In 2022, we are going to begin the change to hybrid engines, and there will also be cosmetic changes to try to make the cars look more like the Camaros and Mustangs you see on the road," he said. "We will also be expanding the pool of manufacturers. Audi will be joining in 2023 and, after a lengthy absence, we will be welcoming back Dodge.

"Also, starting in 2022, the playoffs will be eliminated."

Bigger changes are expected for NASCAR's second-tier, which will transition into a hot-hatchback series resembling British Touring Car, while IMSA will also be switching to hybrid power in 2021.

However, the biggest news came after France and Penske finished their presentation. A screen was lowered and Elon Musk joined the press conference from his secret base under the Pacific Ocean.

"In 2022, I will be starting the most exciting racing series the planet has ever seen - the Nikola Tesla Trophy presented by SpaceX," Musk announced, his voice echoing oddly. "Tesla will be providing all of the engines and both technical and financial support to some of the greatest engineers and designers alive."

Musk announced that engine testing will begin immediately, using current IMSA chassis, with teams allowed to begin testing their own cars in 2021. The designers won't be constrained by a lot of rules.

"The cars have to be powered by a Tesla engine and they have to pass a safety inspection by SpaceX engineers," Musk said. "That's it. Fastest car wins."

Musk was asked if other manufacturers would be taking part in the series.

"No," he said, looking surprised. "Why would anyone want them?"

NAMSA officials clarified after Musk's appearance that, while Tesla does have an exclusive contract to provide engines in 2022 and 2023, other electric-car companies will be allowed to enter in 2024.

"We don't expect Ford or General Motors to enter cars into a series where they would be required to use Telsa engines, but the rules don't prohibit it," the official said.

Musk's appearance ended in some confusion after he announced Tesla would be entering a two-car team.

"They tell me there will be 13 two-car teams, but I have no idea why 12 other teams would bother," he said. "I guess I'll be paying them all to lose to me."
So what does this mean in Reject canon terms? There will be two new active series: The Keto Technologies Sportscar Series (KTSS) and, of course, the Nikola Tesla Trophy Presented By SpaceX (MUSK). The former will start in 2021, while the latter will use 2021 for testing before beginning competition in 2022.

KTSS will run with three classes: GTP (Grand Touring Prototype - the new IMSA LeMans-eligible class), GT3, and Duracell Trophy (eGT). There will be some works teams entered as NPCs, and a few real-life teams available for players to manage, but there will be plenty of places available for fictional teams and drivers.

MUSK will have 13 team licenses available. Elon is keeping one for himself, but the others are open to anyone who submits an application. If more than 12 teams enter, consideration will be given to teams with more experience and success in other series.

The 2021 MUSK testing sessions will be coordinated with the KTSS schedule, so you can encourage drivers to test Muskmobiles by getting them seats in sportscars. Drivers and teams will get performance bonuses based on total testing time.

Exact rules will be announced in upcoming posts, but let me know if you have any interest in taking part.

There will also be two new background series: NASCAR Verizon Cup and NASCAR FCT Grand National. If someone eventually wants to run them as full-time series, they will be welcomed, but for the moment, they will only show up occasionally in news items. One significant schedule change is moving the Brickyard 400 to Memorial Day with a huge cash bonus for anyone who can win the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 on back-to-back days.

Ataxia's canonical IndyCar (2020) and IndyLights (2019) series will be the base of any NAMSA open-wheel competitions moving forward.

The FIA Formula 3 American championship and FIA Formula 4 North American Championship are not affiliated with NAMSA, but the new Penske-France group would be open to partnerships.
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