Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup starting next year at ELMS events
Automobile Club de l’Ouest, European Le Mans Series and Michelin Motorsport are launching a new endurance series for GT3 cars. Name of the new competition is Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup and will run from 2016 on the European Le Mans Series meetings, completing the line-up of exciting race series for the race weekends including ELMS, Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and Renault Sport Trophy.
The new competition will take part on five ELMS rounds at Imola, Red Bull Ring, Le Castellet, Spa and Estoril. Sixth round will be the opening race of 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
In order to optimise the sporting programme of GT3 cars which will enter Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, an agreement has been reached with the French FFSA GT Tour promoter that endurance races will stay with ELMS and sprint with GT Tour. There will be 2-hour endurance races at each of the ELMS meetings and 1-hour sprint races on the GT Tour meetings. The calendars of the two series have no clash in dates, which means the GT3 Teams will be able to enter both competitions, keeping the same car number and the same tire manufacturer, due to the fact that Michelin will be the title sponsor of the new ACO series.
In each 2-driver crew in the new endurance race series, a bronze category driver will be mandatory for each line-up. Apart from the race taking place on the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit, the track programme in the ELMS meetings will be made up of two 1-hour free practice sessions, one 30-minute qualifying session and one 2-hour race.
Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said: “This new series is a logical step as part of the scheme adopted by the ACO for the development of endurance. 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. The ACO also welcomes the strong involvement of Michelin in this new series, strengthening further the links between the world-renowned French manufacturer and Le Mans.”
Gérard Neveu, CEO of the European Le Mans Series, said: “The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup enhances the ELMS programme for the 2016 season. In the same meeting, motorsport fans will be able to enjoy single seat racing with the Formula Renault 2.0, mono series with the RS01 and with the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, all of this coming in addition to the main race of the weekend, the European Le Mans Series. This new series represents an excellent path for gentlemen drivers who want to progress in the world of endurance. Like we have always done in ELMS, we will do all we can so that the dream becomes reality for these gentlemen drivers. We are extremely pleased by the very strong interest that has already been shown by many GT teams for this new series. We look forward to seeing you in 2016 for a season that promises to be superb.”