Petit LeMans race part of 2010 Intercontinental Cup

The 13th annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta will be part of a three-race “Le Mans Intercontinental Cup" that will link the globe’s three Le Mans-style series in 2010, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest said today. Entrants in LMP1 will be eligible for the Intercontinental Cup with the second leg set for the annual 1,000-mile classic at Road Atlanta on October 2.

Officials from the ACO, the governing body of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, announced the formation of the Intercontinental Cup. It lays the groundwork for a minimum six-race championship in 2011 that will feature races in Europe, the United States and Asia.

“We share and wholeheartedly support the ACO’s vision for the expansion of a global sports car racing championship," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “It is extremely appropriate to have Petit Le Mans – our signature event – as part of the inaugural Intercontinental Cup for 2010. During the past decade, Petit Le Mans has become a truly world-class, blue-ribbon event on the endurance calendar. The announcement that it will be one of only three races in the world to host such a prestigious collection of LMP1 entrants and manufacturers will only add to the spectacle and pageantry that has come to define Petit Le Mans."

The first Petit Le Mans in 1998 provided the foundation on which Dr. Don Panoz built the American Le Mans Series and launched it the following March at the 12 Hours of Sebring. During the last 12 seasons, the most elite prototype manufacturers and teams in the world have competed at Petit Le Mans including entries from Audi, Peugeot, Acura, ORECA, BMW, Panoz, Porsche, Ferrari and many others.

A blue-ribbon collection of 12 LMP1 entries took the green flag for the 2009 running of Petit Le Mans, and the ACO’s announcement should cause that number to grow even higher for 2010.

Each competitor in the Intercontinental Cup must confirm its entry with the ACO before the end of February. Entrants must compete in all three rounds to be included in the overall classification, and they must also take part in five Le Mans-sanctioned events in 2010, not counting the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The other two Intercontinental Cup venues will be Silverstone in Europe (September 13) and an Asian location in November to be determined.

The American Le Mans Series will open its 12th season with America’s greatest sports car race, the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida from March 17-20. The green flag will fall at 10:35 a.m. on Saturday, March 20 with live coverage on SPEED.

The annual American Le Mans Series Winter Test is scheduled for February 22-23, also at Sebring International Raceway.

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