The FIA and Le Mans organizer the Automobile Club de l'Ouest are to join forces on a new FIA World Endurance Championship from 2012.
Such a move had been mooted since the ACO combined its headline events – including the Le Mans 24 Hours – into the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, which made its debut with a three-round pilot series at the end of last year. Today the FIA announced that its World Motor Sport Council had agreed to go ahead with a collaboration with the ACO on a global sports car championship starting next season.
"The calendar, comprising at least six events, will include the Le Mans 24 Hours," said an FIA statement. "FIA World Endurance Championship titles will be awarded to constructors and drivers, and an FIA GT Endurance World Cup will be created for constructors."
The FIA also revealed that it had approved plans for the current GT1, GT2 and GT3 classes to be combined next year. All three types will then be able to compete – with performance balancing – in what is currently the FIA GT1 World Championship.
"From 2012, a new 'GT World class' will be created, balancing the performance of 2011 GT1 cars, 2009 GT2 cars and 2011 GT3 cars to enable them to compete in a single FIA GT World Championship," said the statement. "A review of the performance of these three categories of cars will be conducted in order to open up the championship to a greater number of makes."
World GT1 currently relies on several designs adjusted from the previous FIA GT1 rules, with only Nissan and Matech Ford having created cars specifically for the new world championship regulations that came into force last year.