Shortly before the green flag waved to start the 63rd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, officials from the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO) announced a six-year extension of their strategic alliance to advance sports car racing in North America and around the world. The extension runs through the 2020 racing season.
IMSA and the ACO will introduce new Prototype regulations in 2017 that will govern the top class in IMSA’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the LM P2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the World Endurance Championship (WEC), European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the Asian Le Mans Series. The extension carries the partnership through the first four-year cycle of the Prototype regulations.
Next year, IMSA and the ACO will introduce new specifications for their top GT classes: GT Le Mans (GTLM) in the TUDOR Championship and GTE at Le Mans, FIA WEC, ELMS and Asian LMS. Additionally, the TUDOR Championship will shift its GT Daytona (GTD) class to full FIA GT3 technical regulations in 2016. Those GT regulations will be in effect through the 2019 season.
“Since announcing our original strategic partnership here at Sebring two years ago, the bond between IMSA and the ACO has gotten stronger,” said IMSA Chairman Jim France. “This partnership will make it easier for our top teams to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and for top international teams in Prototype and GT racing to join us for our marquee events such as the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.”
The partnership will continue to provide automatic entries for the 24 Hours of Le Mans to TUDOR Championship competitors. The licensing agreement allows IMSA to continue to utilize the Le Mans name for its GT Le Mans class and the Petit Le Mans event.
“We are very delighted to strengthen even more our partnership with IMSA,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon. “It was essential for the ACO to rely on this strategic alliance to implement the harmonization for LM P2 and LM GT categories that we can guarantee a long-term visibility for the endurance teams. With Jim France, we share the same values and commitment.”