Failing European Le Mans Series to end season at Road Atlanta

UPDATE “The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n welcomes the decision of the European Le Mans Series and the ACO to invite teams from that championship to compete in our season finale – Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta, Oct. 17-20. The combination of a marquee field of full-season ALMS entries and a considerable number of international competitors adds to the spectacle that is Petit Le Mans – an extraordinarily world-class endurance race that will now showcase the best of two championships.

“The ALMS and IMSA have confirmed plans with ACO leadership and ELMS organizers to integrate their series participants into our championship finale. It will be an honor for us to welcome our colleagues from Europe, creating an even more remarkable experience for fans that have Petit Le Mans circled on their calendars." Scott Atherton, ALMS

07/21/12 The European Le Mans Series will cross the Atlantic and close out its season with the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta in October, rather than complete its own schedule.

The U.S. event on Oct. 20, which is the last round of the American Le Mans Series, replaces the final two rounds of the European championship. The events set for Brno in the Czech Republic and the Portuguese Algarve circuit, in September and November, have been canceled.

The ELMS competitors will score points in the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans enduro according to their own classification. A statement from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest at Le Mans announcing the move stated that double points could be awarded for the event.

The arrangement with the ALMS comes after the second round of the ELMS, at Donington Park in the United Kingdom last weekend, attracted only 13 entries. During the competition, Patrick Peter, whose organization runs the ELMS, and ACO president Pierre Fillon promised a rescue package to safeguard the future of the ELMS. The ACO statement announcing the latest move said that Le Mans was committed to the future of ELMS.

“The organizers of the ELMS are working flat out on the future of the series, which is one of the essential competitions for training teams and drivers for the top-level of endurance racing: the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours," the ELMS said in a statement. “This work will result in a proposal for the coming seasons and will be announced in September."

The addition of the ELMS entries should boost the prototype field at Atlanta. Nine cars in LMP2, the top category in the European series, made up the bulk of the grid at Donington.

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