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Petit Le Mans Joins The Intercontinental Cup For 2010

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On: Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 12:34PM | By: John Welch


Petit Le Mans Joins The Intercontinental Cup For 2010

The American le Mans Series is expanding its world-wide influence during the winter break. The Petit Le Mans, the crown jewel of the ALMS calendar, has been added to the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, a championship for LMP1 class cars to be contested at three races: The Petit, the LMS race at Silverstone, and an as of yet unannounced Asian Le Mans Series race.

 

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. Audi has already entered its bid to run the updated R15 in the championship; other manufacturers such as Peugeot and ORECA are soon to follow.

"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. This announcement will only add to the spectacle and pageantry that has come to define Petit Le Mans," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "We share and wholeheartedly support the ACO’s vision for the expansion of a global sports car racing championship."

So this is some seriously bad-ass news right here! The ACO, in conjunction with the ALMS, the LMS (Europe), and the Asian LMS are finally producing a defining international series for the nastiest cars this side of F1, LMP! prototypes. This is the sort of multi-cultural bare-knuckle brawl we have been missing since the death of Group C/IMSA GTP. The three race calendar, to be expanded to 6 in 2011, may help lure international players like Honda and Toyota back into sports car racing - a turn of events that would be a boon for field counts and competition in all of the major Le Mans-style racing series.


Add the Intercontinental Cup to the FIA World GT1 Championship, and we finally have a way to measure the world's finest drivers and meanest cars against each other. These are not going to be exhibition races; both GT1 and the LMP1 Intercontinental Cup will be legitimate championships featuring Driver and Manufacturer awards. The international sports car scene is livening up for 2010; 2011 looks even more promising.


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