GT3 machinery will get a place on the Le Mans 24 Hours support bill in 2016, as part of a new endurance championship launched by the ACO.
Open solely to GT3 class cars, the new Michelin-backed 'GT3 Le Mans Cup’ will also accompany five of the six European Le Mans Series rounds next year.
In a series of two-hour races, the new championship will visit Imola, the Red Bull Ring, Paul Ricard, Spa and Estoril, as well Le Mans during the 24 Hours weekend in June.
The Le Mans 24 Hours itself is not currently open to GT3 class cars, although they are accommodated by the European and Asian Le Mans Series, as well as bespoke series such as the Blancpain Sprint and Endurance series.
Teams will be required to run two drivers per car, at least one of which must be ‘bronze-rated’.
"This new series is a logical step as part of the scheme adopted by the ACO for the development of endurance racing,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon.
“In addition to the WEC on the world stage, or the ELMS at European level, and the Asian Le Mans Series in Asia, with this new series the ACO adds another piece to its portfolio of competitions and strengthens its position as promoter of Championships and Endurance races.
“It will be for the best teams and drivers in GT3, a true gateway to access the GTE world and therefore to have the opportunity to join the family of the 24 hours of Le Mans.”