At October's Petit Le Mans, the final round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series and penultimate round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, the ALMS and the ACO confirmed a new long-term partnership. The only confirmed joint round, though, of the 2012 ALMS and new FIA World Endurance Championship, the ILMC replacement to still be run under ACO promotion but now FIA sanction, was the opening round of both series: the 60th 12 Hours of Sebring.
The WEC unveiled its full calendar at Zhuhai International Circuit this weekend, and while Petit Le Mans' non-inclusion was not unexpected, a clashing round at Bahrain the same Oct. 20 date was a surprise. ALMS president and CEO Scott Atherton addressed the decision in a statement:
“From the beginning of discussions on the concept of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup through its evolution into the FIA World Endurance Championship, the American Le Mans Series has worked to assist the ACO in advancing our sport on a worldwide basis. While we have agreed with the ACO that Sebring would be the opening round of this new championship, we were still in discussions with them regarding the 2012 Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. After the 24 Hours of Le Mans itself, two of the world's greatest endurance sports car races are Petit Le Mans and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida. That is why it is an even greater disappointment to suddenly learn that the ACO has decided to schedule an event in conflict with Petit Le Mans in 2012.
"Even so, we're undeterred in our efforts to work with Road Atlanta to make next year's Petit Le Mans even greater than its record-setting success this year. It is and will absolutely remain one of the greatest sports car races in the world today.”