Le Mans organizer the Automobile Club de l'Ouest has explained rationale for series of races linking its global championships that will commence with three races in late 2010.
The new Le Mans Intercontinental Cup will start at Silverstone with a 1000km race, the Le Mans Series' season finale, on Sept. 13 next year. It will also feature American Le Mans Series showpiece, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, on Oct. 2, before finishing at an unspecified Asian Le Mans Series round in November.
Only teams running LMP1 cars will be eligible to score in the Intercontinental Cup, which will award a teams' and manufacturers' title to the top-scoring squads. The ACO said that competitors must enter "five races run under the Le Mans label [the 24 Hours excepted] to be eligible for the Intercontinental Cup."
The ACO has long hinted that it wanted to create a global contest featuring the premier events from the worldwide series running to its rules. It intends next year's Intercontinental Cup to be a precursor to a full championship in 2011.
"The 2010 Le Mans Intercontinental Cup prefigures the creation of a world trophy for the 2011 season, which will be run in compliance with the new ACO regulations," said an ACO statement. "It will consist of six races, minimum. A more detailed presentation of the world trophy will be made before the end of March 2010."
The ALMS and LMS are now firmly established championships, while their Asian counterpart began with a one-off event at Okayama in Japan in October this year. It is intended to become a full series from 2010 onward.