Peugeot to defend Petit LeMans title
Peugeot announced Friday that it will return to Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans in September as part of an entry into the inaugural International Le Mans Cup. The French manufacturer – which currently holds overall titles from Le Mans and Petit Le Mans last year and this year’s running of the Sebring 12 Hours with its 908 HDi FAP prototype – joins diesel rival Audi Sport and Drayson Racing as the first confirmed LMP1 entrants for the global championship.
In addition to serving as the second of three rounds in the International Le Mans Cup, the 13th annual Petit Le Mans is the season-finale for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. The 1,000-mile/10-hour classic - the Series’ cornerstone event - is scheduled this year for September 29-October 2 from the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course roughly one hour northeast of Atlanta.
Friday’s announcement gave no clues as to the number of entries or which drivers will participate from the Peugeot camp. Anthony Davidson, Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz won the season-opening 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. The sister Peugeot 908 of Sebastien Bourdais, Pedro Lamy and Nic Minassian finished 13.817 seconds adrift.
Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny led a Peugeot 1-2 finish last year at Petit Le Mans in a rain-soaked event.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest – the governing body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – confirmed in March the launch of the 2010 ILMC. It features three races on three continents: Silverstone (Great Britain) on September 12, Petit Le Mans 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. Also announced were the additions of team championships for all four ACO-sanctioned classes – LMP1, LMP2, GT1 and GT2.
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, the ACO’s wish is to expand to six events. Entries for this year’s championship close May 31.