The 1000-mile enduro at Road Atlanta will retain the Petit Le Mans name when it takes its place on the new United SportsCar Racing calendar next season.
United SportsCar, which is the new name of the unified series due to start in 2014, has signed a licensing deal with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, the organizer of the Le Mans 24 Hours. The agreement covers the use of the Le Mans name for Petit and the granting of guaranteed entries for the 24 Hours to United SportsCar teams.
Don Panoz, who agreed a deal to use the name of the French enduro for Petit and the American Le Mans Series in 1998, said: "The fact that an agreement has been made between United SportsCar and the ACO to retain the Petit Le Mans name, and sustain the relationship with the ACO, is a very good omen. It's a great relationship that we look forward to continuing and growing."
Next year's United SportsCar calendar has yet to be set, but the series will start with the Florida enduros at Daytona and Sebring, will include Petit and looks certain to encompass the Watkins Glen 6 Hours.
ALMS boss Scott Atherton, who will be on the United SportsCar board, explained that the new series would be able to award two guaranteed entries next year for Le Mans 2015 to cars running to ACO rules under the agreement.
"The new system will be similar to the way we do it now, so that means we will award entries for Le Mans in P2 and GT Le Mans [the new name for the current ALMS GT class known as GTE in Europe]," he said. "We will award them in one or two ways: either to the class winners at Petit Le Mans or to the winners of the relevant teams' titles in the series. That has yet to be decided."
United SportsCar and the ACO will also continue to work together to "craft compatible technical regulations for the top sports car categories," according to a statement.