BRASELTON, Ga. (December 18, 2001) -- The European Le Mans Series, which was formed prior to the 2001 season, will not continue, series organisers have announced.
"It is with regret and sadness that we must make this announcement," said Scott Atherton, President and COO of the Panoz Motor Sports Group.
"We have been working diligently over the last several months in an attempt to confirm the continuation of the series," he said. "But establishing a new professional sports car racing series in an already-fragmented environment was a tremendous challenge.
"In addition, the state of the global economy following the events of September 11 has made an already difficult task even more challenging," Atherton said. "At the same time, the major auto manufacturers and suppliers that are involved in Le Mans Series sports car racing made it clear that they wanted us to focus our efforts on the North American market."
The ELMS, formed as a sister series to the American Le Mans Series, held five sports car endurance races in five European countries in the 2001 season. Stefan Johansson was the series LMP 900 class champion.
Atherton praised the efforts of John Macdonald, ELMS Executive Director. "We could not have had the inaugural season we had without the dedication and hard work of John Macdonald and his staff," said Atherton. "We also owe a big thank you to the racing teams that supported the series, and to the racing circuits and promoters that hosted the events."
Atherton indicated that he expected the Panoz Motor Sports Group would be involved in staging European events at some point in the future.