One of the things we didn't expect when we first started attending Historic Sportscar Racing events over in the US was the way that they manage to present a new alternate reality time after time.
The grids for each race are drawn from several different eras, or championships, so can throw up a great rematch of an old rivalry, or put cars together on track that, due to circumstances, were never able to race against each other in their day.
At the Classic Daytona 24 this year one particular alternate reality stuck out to us immediately – a group of modern sportscars from both sides of the pond that found themselves sharing a track in a way that was denied them in period.
During the ALMS and Grand-Am split (and in some cases even after reunification) the top classes of Le Mans-style cars and US racing were kept apart. Even after IMSA came back together it was only the LMP2 field that was allowed to battle against the, now heavily-upgraded, Daytona Prototypes. LMP1 may have been the top category for the majority of the American Le Mans Series's history, but for the reunited US sportscar scene the P1 cars were just going to be too fast for it be a sensible fight against the DPs. Thus keeping LMP1 cars completely out of any kind of competition.
Indeed P1 cars have never raced at Daytona. Grand-Am regs ruled at the "World Centre of Racing" throughout the 2000s, and it wasn't until the series' reunified that even the P2 field was able to test its mettle on the high banks.
But with HSR we can see a different universe. One where LMP1 and LMP2 cars can share the track with DP and LMPC (the one-make entry level series that lasted for a long time in both ALMS and IMSA). We can even see different eras together, HSR have four different upgraded Daytona Prototypes racing at the event in 2018 (including the champion Wayne Taylor Racing car) but it also has early DPs – perhaps the most troubling racing cars to look at that have ever taken to the track.
So we can not only see how the 2016 Le Mans LMP2 winning Alpine A640 can do against the very best DP to race, but also watch the 2005 overall winning Audi R8 fight its way past the era of DP against which it was never pitted.
It's a world where the divide between ACO/FIA rules and the US-based Grand-AM/IMSA regs never existed. Where one of the world's greatest twice-round-the-clock races was open to classes from around the world. Now, imagine if we could get the ACO to allow the latest DPis to race at Le Mans...