After a successful first season the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) will expand to seven events in 2011, taking in some of the most famous sportscar races in the world.
The 2010 ILMC consisted of three races – the 6 hours of Silverstone, Petit Le Mans and the 6 Hours of Zhuhai. All three return for the second season, though Zhuhai's place is taken by a Chinese race at an as yet undecided track.
However, while the racing this year was condensed into three months at the end of the year, the 2011 ILMC season will begin in March with the 59th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring – also the first round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).
The ILMC then spends the summer in Europe, blending in with three of the Le Mans Series' six hour events – Spa-Franchorchamps, Imola and then Silverstone. However, between the visits to Belgium and Italy with be the ILMC's blue ribbon event – the Le Mans 24 Hours, held this year on 11-12 June.
2011 also sees the return of the official Le Mans test day, which on April 24 will fall between the races at Sebring and Spa.
After the Silverstone race, teams will return to America for the 1000 mile/10 hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta before the finale in China on Saturday November 12.
“We're convinced that this calendar is going to enhance the values of endurance through a technological, responsible and sporting approach towards racing that will give endurance the place it deserves,” said FrÃ©dÃ©ric Henry-Biabaud, ILMC general manager. “For its first full season, this programme meets the expectations of spectators, manufacturers, teams and partners with seven events on some of the most legendary motor racing circuits in strategic economic markets.”
“Thanks to this balanced international seven-race calendar our events will take place in six countries on three continents, so the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup will really take off in 2011,” enthused Auto Club d L'Ouest president Jean-Claude Plassart. “Endurance, the bedrock of our activities since 1923, will come out of this championship, whose regulations are based on those that have made the success of the Le Mans 24 Hours, with its prestige reinforced. The Automobile Club de l'Ouest is especially proud to contribute directly to the international development of this branch of motor racing in which the sporting, competitive and attractive aspects for the general public are highlighted, as well as the most innovative technologies.”