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ACO expands participation of International Cup
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest – the governing body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – confirmed Friday the launch of the 2010 Intercontinental Cup with the 13th annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta as the second of the three-race global championship.

Rémy Brouard, the General Manager of the ACO; Vincent Beaumesnil, the ACO Sports Manager; and American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n President and CEO Scott Atherton discussed the new initiative to increase the worldwide presence of Le Mans-sanctioned events. The 2010 Intercontinental Cup will feature three races on three continents: Silverstone (Great Britain) on September 12, Petit Le Mans (US) on October 2 and a yet-to-be determined event in China in early November.

New for the international competition is the inclusion of a championship for GT2 manufacturers to go alongside a similar title for LMP1 manufacturers. Beaumesnil also announced the addition of team championships for all four ACO-sanctioned classes.

To be eligible for each of these three titles, entrants must take part:
• In all three events counting for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup
• In five races run under the Le Mans label (except the Le Mans 24 Hours).

For 2011, Beaumesnil confirmed the ACO’s wish to expand to six events but did not confirm venues. Both he and Atherton did drop hints that Sebring International Raceway, site of this weekend’s 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, is a strong contender for an Intercontinental Cup round.

“It was clear from the beginning that Sebring was not an option for 2010 for a number of reasons,” Atherton said. “But it was also clear from the beginning that starting in 2011, that could be a different scenario. We are not here today to announce Sebring as part of the series. But I can assure you that the priority of Sebring is not missed by anyone. I think we can look forward to 2011 and some good news in that category.”

“For the future – our selection of tracks are based on history and strength,” Beaumesnil added. “When you think of Sebring and Petit Le Mans, they are both major races.”

The opening date for entries for the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup is March 30 with entries closing May 31.

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