LE MANS, France (June 13, 2002) -- In a move that will fuel the growth of the American Le Mans Series for years to come, the series has renewed and extended its relationship with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizer of the famed 24...
LE MANS, France (June 13, 2002) -- In a move that will fuel the growth of the American Le Mans Series for years to come, the series has renewed and extended its relationship with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizer of the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In addition, the series announced that it will work in conjunction with the ACO to stage a single American Le Mans Series event at a premier racing venue in Europe in 2003 and two events in 2004 and beyond.
The series decided upon an early renewal of its original five-year contract with the ACO, which was good through 2003, by exercising its option to extend through 2008. The licensing agreement allows the American Le Mans Series the use of the trademarks and rules of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the operation of its North American sports car racing series.
"We could not be more pleased to make this announcement," said Don Panoz, founder of the series. "Our relationship with the ACO has been instrumental in the growth this series has experienced since it began in 1999. Use of the ACO's rules gives us the stability in technical regulations that has made our series attractive to race teams and manufacturers.
"This announcement will confirm the level of stability and consistency for professional sports car racing. It will provide manufacturers, promoters, teams and fans with a great platform for future growth of the American Le Mans Series.
"It is also very important to us to be able to continue to use the Le Mans name in all aspects of our series operation," he said. "We have built equity in the American Le Mans Series name and it is what we are."
The relationship with the American Le Mans Series represents the first and only granting by the ACO to another party the use of its trademarks and rules. In an effort to expand upon the rich history and tradition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ACO completed an agreement with Panoz in 1998. The inaugural Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in 1998 was Panoz' first use of the Le Mans name, and the American Le Mans Series was born in 1999.
"We are very happy to make this announcement, and with this renewal, the ACO makes the commitment to make the American Le Mans Series the best professional road racing series in North America," said Michel Cosson, ACO President.
The single European date for the ALMS in 2003 and two races in 2004 will mark the first time that the series and the ACO have worked together to stage races. The ALMS held two races in Europe in the 2000 season.
American Le Mans Series races feature four classes of race cars competing for class wins and the overall win, with the fields including many of the same drivers and cars that compete at Le Mans. The series holds events at many of North America's premier permanent road racing facilities as well as at temporary circuits in key major markets. The series motto is "For the Fans" and all events feature driver autograph sessions and open paddocks. All events are on live television in the United States. Well-known automotive brand names such as Audi, Cadillac, Corvette, Dodge, Ferrari, MG, Nissan, Panoz, Porsche and Saleen are represented on the series. ALMS events are sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).
The next race for the American Le Mans Series will be at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on Sunday, June 30.