Photo: Meeting together for the first time last weekend at the Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans, France, site of the world-renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race, were the executive leadership teams of ISCAR – the recently merged organization comprised of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón / Grand-Am Road Racing; the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO); and the FIA World Endurance Championship. Front row (L-R) – ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton; ALMS Founder and 2014 organization Board of Directors Vice-Chairman Dr. Don Panoz; ACO President Pierre Fillon; 2014 organization Board of Directors Chairman Jim France; and ACO Board of Management member Frédéric Henry-Biabaud. Back row (L-R) – ACO General Manager Frédéric Lenart; FIA WEC Chief Executive Officer Gérard Neveu; ACO Sports Manager Vincent Beausmesnil; and Grand-Am President and CEO Ed Bennett.
Following the recently announced merger of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and Grand-Am Road Racing, leadership of the new organization met in Le Mans, France, last weekend, with the executive teams of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
ACO President Pierre Fillon welcomed Board Chairman Jim France, Vice Chairman Don Panoz and their respective leadership teams for meetings to address the future of endurance racing. In particular, France, Panoz and their staffs shared perspectives on the combined ALMS/Grand-Am series, the WEC, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the various technical aspects that will define the unified series' debut in 2014.
“What a great opportunity to meet the ACO and WEC leadership face-to-face – and what an honor it was to meet them on their ‘home field' so to speak,” said Grand-Am President and CEO Ed Bennett. “Just as Daytona and Sebring is ‘hallowed ground' when it comes to sports car racing, so is Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans.
“This meeting underscored the significant potential that now exists for the future of sports car racing in North America.”
“Last weekend gave the management team of our newly formed company an opportunity to enjoy face-to-face conversations with leaders from the ACO and WEC,” said ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton.
“We were eager to introduce Jim France and (Grand-Am President and CEO) Ed Bennett to Le Mans, and the warm reception and hospitality provided by the ACO provided a positive and productive first impression. The meeting also served to establish a dialogue regarding a number of things on the horizon for the ALMS and Grand-Am for the remainder of this year and next, and a look ahead expectantly to our unified series in 2014. The ACO and WEC provided us with overviews and perspectives on our current relationship and their priorities for the future. We concluded with a joint discussion of the opportunities for future collaboration. For a first meeting, it couldn't have gone better.”
The unified series leadership and those of the ACO and the WEC will convene additional meetings to continue the development of their strong partnership and its impact on premium sports car endurance racing in North America and abroad. The next meeting will be in the United States in the near future.
Grand-Am concludes its 2012 season this weekend at Lime Rock Park, while the ALMS wraps its year next month at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.