The 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup will kick off this March. The countdown for the international endurance series created last season by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has begun. The seven-race program will start with a flourish in eighteen days’ time with the 59th running of the famous Sebring 12-Hours race.
The 2011 ILMC will begin on the Sebring circuit in Florida located between Orlando and Miami on 19th March. The race has attracted a fabulous field, and no fewer than 57 cars will come under starter’s orders. Among them are 21 entries in the ILMC (some teams being slightly insufficiently prepared, particularly with regard to their second vehicle registered), while the rest of the cars are taking part in the American Le Mans Series Championship.
In LM P1 there are 12 prototypes, nine of which are entered for the full championship. Peugeot will bring along two of its new 908s and will be out to add another victory in the Florida classic to its laurels after its win last year. Another eagerly-awaited newcomer is the Aston Martin AMR-One. Up against them will be two Audi R15 Pluses, victorious at Le Mans in 2010, complying with the 2011 regulations. The rest of the top prototype category will consist of a host of cars out to pounce on the slightest slipup by the big names in endurance. In LM P2, there are 5 entries, three of which are also racing in the ILMC. The American team, Level 5 Motorsports, which has entered for the full Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, will be out to defend its 2010 victory with a couple of Honda-powered Lolas.
The entry line-up in the GT category is a particularly impressive one (24 cars including 9 ILMCs, four in GTE Pro and five in GTE AM) with works cars from prestigious manufacturers like BMW (2 M3 GTs), Ferrari (with one of its new F458 Italias), Corvette, Aston Martin and of course, Porsche.
The rest of the field of the Sebring 12 Hours is made up of 8 Formula Le Mans cars (called the LMPC category in the United States), and as many GTCs, which are not competing in the ILMC.
Thanks to this sumptuous field the Sebring 12-Hours race will give the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup a star-studded launch. In the history of motor sport, there are not that many series that can boast having 21 cars at the start of the first event in only their second season!
Thanks to the ILMC, the 12 Hours of Sebring has a quasi-similar number of entries to that of the 24 Heures of Le Mans. This will allow the great American classic, to offer a brilliant entry in the endurance season.
Sebring 12 Hours
59th event 16th-19th march
First round of the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup
Circuit: Sebring International Raceway (Florida, United States), length: 5,954 kms.
Free practice: Thursday 17th March from 10h15 to 11h15, then from 15h05 to 16h05, local time (16h15 – 17h15 and 21h05-22h05, French time).
Qualifications: Friday 18th March from 15h00 to 16h05 local time (21h00-22h05, French time).
Race: start of the 59th Sebring 12 Hours, Saturday 19th March at 10h30 local time (16h30, French time).
Finish: 22h30 (04h30, 20th March French time).
Entries: 57 cars, including 21 entered in the ILMC.
ILMC field: 21 cars – 9 LM P1s, 3 LM P2s, 4 GTE Pros and 5 GTE Ams.
2010 results: 1. Wurz-Gené-Minassina (A-SP-GB), Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. 2185,33 kms (367 laps, av. Speed: 181,88 km/h) – 2. Bourdais-Lamy-Minassian (F-P-F) Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, 13.817s behind – 3. Fernandez-MÃ¼cke-Primat (MEX-D-CH) Lola-Aston Matin, 3 laps behind.
2010 Pole position: Gené (SP) Peugeot 908 HDi FAP: 1m 45.214s (av. speed: 203,74 km/h).
Fastest lap in the race: Bourdais (F) Peugeot 908 HDi FAP: 1m 44.972 km/h (av. speed: 204,21 km/h).