I taped it as I was packing for my trip, but the race was a Grand Am not ALMS. Te next ALMS race airs on Speed on Sunday 8/10 at 1p CT.
Grand Am is also sports cars, but with some differences. I’m going to generalize below, but it should give you an idea of the two series.
The Grand Am prototypes (DPs or Daytona Prototypes) are very strictly regulated. This is why the cars look very much alike, and produces close racing as the cars are pretty evenly matched. This also keeps costs in check for the teams.
THe ALMS prototypes are less regulated, so you see more experimentation and variation (and $$ spent). For example, a big deal in ALMS and LMS right now how well the turbo diesel cars are doing relative to traditional gasoline powered cars. This variation leads to some interesting matchups. For example, the Audi diesel prototypes have incredible torque which results in awesome speed off the corners, but are heavy which hurts the handling. The Acura and Porsche prototypes are lighter and more nimble, but do not have as much power and speed. This leads to some very interesting race strategies playing out. The ALMS protos are not far removed from being a F1 cars with a larger body.
In Grand Am, the GT class allows both production-derived racers (like the Porsche 911s) and frame-built cars (like the Mazda RX7 and the Pontiac). The frame-built cars are funny-cars, ie the look like what you could buy on the street but under the skin they are purpose built racers within nothing even production-like except the engine. What Grand Am then does is basically rules-lawyer the cars into rough equality. This car is too fast so it gets a weight penalty, this car is too slow so it gets to add a bit more aero or whatever.
The ALMS GT cars have to be production-based. The governing board (in France, actually) approve cars into the series, but they rarely make adjustments. They expect the manufacturers and teams to find the extra speed if they aren’t doing so good. This does mean the GT cars are all strictly sports cars, like the 911, the Ferrarri 430, and the Vette. Last year Ferrarri dominated. This year its pretty even between the 430 and the 911. Next year, the BMW M3 will be back and they are usually very good.
If you are like me and prefer the production based cars, you should keep an eye out for both the Koni challenge series and the Speed challenge series (both on the speed channel, but often at strange times). Both are a bit lower on the professional ladder, but both series run a much wider variety of production-based cars. Mustangs, Vipers, Vettes, Minis, Acuras, Subie WRX, BMW Z4 and M3, etc.
I tape and watch the Grand Am, but in general I prefer ALMS.