For 2010, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Le Mans racing’s governing body, will add a new series called the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup.
The inaugural 2010 season of the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup will feature three Le Mans-style races in North America, Europe, and Asia. Currently confirmed for 2010 are Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans, along with an event at Silverstone in England. The series will eventually be expanded to include at least six tracks across the three continents and will be a global championship, in lieu of the separate American and European championships currently in place.
Only LMP1-class cars are eligible to compete in the Intercontinental Cup, and the teams must also compete in an additional five Le Mans sanctioned events during the 2010 season, excluding the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. Of course, the teams registered for the Intercontinental Cup must also compete in all three of the inaugural races next season.
So far, Audi is the only team to confirm it will enter the Intercontinental Cup next season with two of its R15 TDI race cars. Audi’s entry into the new series means the team will compete in at least six more Le Mans events next year as it did this year. Audi cut back on its racing budget for the 2009 season and only competed in three races, including two required by the new Intercontinental Cup regulations. Audi confirmed it will also compete in the 1000-km Spa-Francorchamps race in Belgium, where it will field three cars as a practice session for Le Mans.
Other LMP1 competitors likely to enter the race include Audi’s archrival Peugeot, Patron-Highcroft Acura, Aston Martin, and Pescarolo Sport. Teams must register by the end of February, so the final list of entrants will be known shortly thereafter.
Source: American Le Mans Series, Audi