Le Mans stars Allan McNish and Nicolas Minassian have given their full backing to the Automobile Club de l'Ouest's plan for a new worldwide LMP1 series.
The ACO's Le Mans Intercontinental Cup will commence this year as a three-race series encompassing a 1000km race at Silverstone, the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and a yet to be decided event in Asia. The organizers hope the cup can develop into a season-long championship by 2011 – and McNish and Minassian, whose Audi and Peugeot teams have not contested full series since 2008, are extremely keen to see it succeed.
"In 2011, the ACO's idea is to roll out a kind of world championship, and with the suggestion of a few other manufacturers coming on board, I can see that being a very, very good program, with more non-manufacturer teams able to fight out the Le Mans Series championship and the American Le Mans Series championship while the manufacturers go into this global branding program," said McNish..
Minassian added: "Next year I cross my fingers and would really like to have a world championship coming out of it, because we're not racing much at the minute. We want to go to circuits around the world and have great competition all year. We need more races, we really need this championship to happen. The cars are so good to race, they're made for these types of circuit, and it's just so much fun."
McNish admitted he would dearly love to fight for a fully fledged world championship. "I have won thankfully all the major races in sports car racing, I have won three American Le Mans Series titles, but I'd love to have a crack at a world title," he said. "As a racing driver, when you go to your retirement home, it's always nice if you've got that chance to have world champion against your name in any category. From that point of view it is a fantastic opportunity if it can develop as they hope."