The Le Mans Series is to add cars from the Formula Le Mans one-make series to its grids next season.
FLM started as an LMS support category this year, but only attracted fields of between eight and 13 cars for its inaugural championship, which was won by DAMS' single-seater converts Nico Verdonck and Gavin Cronje.
For 2010, FLM will be run as a class within the LMS instead, although it will still have a single stand-alone round as well. Each car lineup must still include one "gentleman" racer among its two or three drivers, and the champions will continue to receive a prize LMP1 test with ORECA, which builds the FLM machines.
The cars will be slightly modified with an "endurance kit" to make them suitable for the LMS's 1000-kilometer races, and are expected to lap between LMP2 and GT2 pace. Series boss Pierre Fillon reckons the move will make FLM a better training ground for aspiring prototype drivers.
"The FLM is in line with ACO's intentions to develop a genuine endurance racing nursery," he said. "In 2010, the nursery will gear up with the launch of a Le Mans prototype drive academy with an ACO academy award on the one hand and on the other hand with the integration of the FLM into LMS races. As a consequence, the learning conditions for all new drivers and teams are similar to those of the Le Mans 24 Hours in LMP1 or LMP2."
The American Le Mans Series has already announced that it will add a class for FLM cars next year under the LMP Challenge title.