LEXUS BECOMES LATEST ELITE MANUFACTURER TO JOIN GROWING AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES
Braselton, Ga. - Culminating an unprecedented week of competitor growth, the American Le Mans Series announced today Lexus as the second of two elite manufacturers that in a three-day span have made commitments to field a two-car, factory-backed racing program for the 2006 season.
For its "Passionate Pursuit of Perfection," Lexus will compete with a pair of IS 350 sport sedans in the American Le Mans Series' GT2S class.
"Much like we hope the new IS will become, we view the American Le Mans Series as an aspirational series," said Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager Bob Carter. "It's an ideal fit for Lexus because it celebrates the technology and performance inherent in the best cars."
Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series, echoed those thoughts.
"The Lexus brand coming into the American Le Mans Series is as close to a natural fit as we could ever imagine," Atherton said. "When anyone mentions Lexus, many of the same attributes that are associated with the American Le Mans Series come to mind - words like luxury, high performance, leading-edge technology, style and quality describe both brands. On behalf of the series, and its manufacturers and competitors, we are proud and honored to welcome Lexus into our competitive ranks."
Lexus is the second premium manufacturer to announce its participation in the American Le Mans Series this week. Tuesday, BMW confirmed its plan to bring two factory-backed M3s to the series grid starting at the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
Lexus will join with its racing partner Team Lexus, which will build, develop and campaign the new cars with technical assistance and backing from Lexus. Work already has started on preparing the IS 350s for the 2006 American Le Mans Series, and driver lineups will be announced at a later date.
"Developing and racing two brand new cars in a series new to us will be a major challenge but one that we relish," said Team Lexus owner Chuck Goldsborough. "We've been building our team along with the new cars this year and are looking forward to some of the most exciting and competitive road racing in North America."
One by one, Atherton's promises of delivering new manufacturers and teams to the American Le Mans Series in his September "State of the Series" address at Petit Le Mans are materializing. And with an outstanding 10-race schedule that impacts nine of the top 20 markets across North America, the best television package in the series' history and 2005 season results indicating double-digit increases in sponsorship ROIs, times have never been better.
"The American Le Mans Series, with its 'premium brand of motorsport' platform, is experiencing an unprecedented level of growth and expansion, and Lexus has recognized this," Atherton said. "This represents more than the addition of another prestigious manufacturer to our ranks. Lexus will bring another wave of elite sponsors, high-end clientele and a level of activation that we expect will establish a new benchmark. Lexus' involvement in the American Le Mans Series will have a positive impact by every measure. But the best part is that there still is more good news to come."
Cars competing in GT2S are not eligible for the 24 Hours of Le Mans at this time. However, GT2S entries will be classified in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series and will be eligible to score championship points. Series officials are working closely with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) to evaluate the involvement of GT2S cars in the American Le Mans Series with the possibility of making them eligible for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the future.
The American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Series is the premium brand of motorsport in North America, featuring high-tech sports cars from the most prestigious automobile manufacturers in the world. Its unique four classes of competition showcase exotic, open-top prototypes and sophisticated production-based GT cars, all competing on the track at the same time. The American Le Mans Series competes at the premier road racing tracks across North America and at selected temporary street circuits in major urban markets. With a television package that includes five network broadcasts on CBS and five broadcasts on SPEED Channel, plus live broadcasts across Europe, the series delivers a global marketing platform that is unmatched in motorsports. The series, founded in 1999 by Georgia entrepreneur Don Panoz, represents a mirror image to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous and authentic automobile race. The American Le Mans Series features elite marques such as Audi, Porsche, BMW, Corvette, Aston Martin, Lexus and Panoz, and premium brands such as Michelin, Pirelli, Jean-Richard Swiss Watches and many others.
Lexus has become synonymous with luxury since its introduction in 1989. By offering some of the finest quality luxury vehicles and providing benchmark customer service, Lexus has remained the top-selling luxury nameplate in the United States for five years in a row. Lexus and its 215 dealers have repeatedly achieved high honors for both the products they sell and the customer service they provide as rated by the independent research firm of J.D. Power and Associates.