CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 29, 2002) -- Officials of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) expressed excitement over the selection of many cars from the IMSA-sanctioned American Le Mans Series for the starting field of the 70th running of...
CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 29, 2002) -- Officials of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) expressed excitement over the selection of many cars from the IMSA-sanctioned American Le Mans Series for the starting field of the 70th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Selection Committee of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) last week announced the 48 cars that will compete in the famed French endurance racing classic, with American Le Mans Series teams receiving special consideration in the selection process. Thirty-one of the selected 48 cars competed in the 2002 ALMS season opener at Sebring, Fla., on March 16, and 17 were regular competitors on the series last year or will be this year. The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be run June 15-16 at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
"Numerous cars from the American Le Mans Series have been invited to compete in the premier road racing event in the world," said Dennis Huth, President of IMSA. "The teams that compete in our series can be proud that they are part of a very elite group, with clearly one-third of the field coming from within our series. It is truly a worldwide assembly of the crème de la crème.
"We're very excited that these great racing teams will be carrying the banner for IMSA and the American Le Mans Series in the 24 Hours of Le Mans," he said. "The ACO and the 24 Hours of Le Mans represent the pinnacle of sports car racing in the world."
Since its formation in 1999, the American Le Mans Series has operated on an agreement with the ACO allowing the use of the famous "Le Mans" name as well as the technical rules formulated by the ACO for the 24-hour event. One of the founding principles of the series was the stability of technical rules, based on the fact that the ACO formulated rules once a year.
Another founding principle of the American Le Mans Series' relationship with the ACO is based on the latest technology and performance, aspects of pure road racing competition which are embraced by both the ACO and the American Le Mans Series.
"It's fundamental to the foundation of our series and to pure road racing that our fans get to see the latest, most advanced race cars in every event," said Huth.
"After Le Mans, there will be eight more American Le Mans Series events in the 2002 season," Huth said. "The chances are very good that the overall winning team and class winners at Le Mans will be competing in the rest of the events on the series. We're happy that the aggressive promoters of those upcoming races will have that extra fuel of professionalism and series alike as they create new fans and sell tickets and sponsorships for their events."
The teams competing at Le Mans will travel to France for a practice session on May 5, then return to the United States for the Grand Prix of Sonoma at California's Sears Point Raceway on May 19. Then, after some time at home to prepare, it will be back to Le Mans for the race. The American Le Mans Series will resume June 30 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
"We wish all American Le Mans Series teams the very best as they compete at Le Mans," Huth said.