Most Successful Race in History of Road Atlanta
BRASELTON, Ga. - The results are in and the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda is in the record books as one of the most successful races in the history of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n (ALMS). Indeed it also drew more spectators to Road Atlanta than any other weekend of the track’s 41-year history. Beginning with the camper and motor coach crowd that arrived for opening day on Wednesday, Sept. 28, the four-day attendance figure amounted to 131,400 spectators according to the promoter.
This year, moving to the ABC/ESPN network from its former position on cable TV, Petit Le Mans enjoyed the largest U.S. television audience in its history. In the U.S. alone, nearly 900,000 viewers tuned in to watch the race. That represents an increase of 185 percent over viewership in 2010, making it by far the event’s largest domestic TV audience ever. In addition, a worldwide television audience was able to watch the show. It aired on a wide variety of international networks including ESPN International, Rogers SportsNet in Canada and Fox Sports Net among others. ESPN International alone made the race available to over 196 million homes in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Petit Le Mans has become an internationally recognized sporting event. A veritable Olympics of motorsport, the race drew an all-time record entry of 58 cars composed of teams and drivers from 19 countries. Fans from as far away as Africa, South America, Europe, Canada and the West Coast made the trip to enjoy some of the greatest sports car racing in the world.
Spectator attendance has increased by 24 percent over the last four years. In addition to the fact that general admission ticketholders have open access to the cars and drivers in the paddock, one of the reasons for the event’s growing popularity is that fans can also walk the grid, photograph the cars close-up and meet drivers minutes before the green flag. Such open access comes from the Series’ founding mantra, “For the Fans.”
Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda is also an event that has become increasingly important to the north Georgia economy. Road Atlanta estimates that Petit Le Mans adds at least $40 million to the local economy. Blue-chip corporations like Microsoft, Chevrolet, Michelin North America, Porsche Cars North America, Intercontinental Hotel Group and more, find the event an attractive and effective way to reach their customers and clients. Indeed, Road Atlanta reported record corporate hospitality and exhibitor sales up by 25 and 40 percent respectively over last year.
“The Road Atlanta and ALMS staffs did a tremendous job in promoting this crown jewel event and - just as importantly - positively managing fans’ and corporate partner experiences while attending the event,” American Le Mans Series president and CEO Scott Atherton said. “Due to the devotion of a growing fan base, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n showed great momentum throughout our 13th season. We have an ever-improving multi-year TV platform with ABC/ESPN that’s delivering substantial improvements in ROI for our partners. We’re entering our 14th year with a favorable, new, long-term agreement with our partners at the ACO - which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the new FIA World Endurance Championship. As evidenced by the success of Petit Le Mans with its record field of the greatest sports car teams in the world, we’re more than pleased with the positive trend line for our form of motorsport, and we look forward to the 2012 season with nothing but optimism.”