After weeks of intense speculation and animosity following the release of a provisional 2011 ILMC schedule (namely over the omission of Petit Le Mans), the ACO yesterday released an updated calendar for the 2011 running of the Intercontinental Cup.
Despite prior speculation suggesting otherwise, the updated calendar sees the approval of both Sebring and Petit Le Mans as part of the North American arm of the cup.
The move comes as a relief to many North American fans, after recent rumours suggested the famed Petit Le Mans event would be replaced by a South American round. The event, which is now displayed on the updated calendar, has been reinstated at it’s usual date on the first weekend of October.
In addition to the already confirmed European events at Spa, Le Mans, and Silverstone, the second rendition of the cup will feature an Italian round (LMS Round 3) hosted at the Imola GP circuit and, despite the unfortunate omission of a Japanese round for a second time, China will continue to host the final and, so far only Asian Le Mans series event of the ILMC at a yet to be determined venue.
ILMC General Manager, Frédéric Henry-Biabaud issued the following statement in relation to the announcement:
“We’re convinced that this calendar is going to enhance the values of endurance through a technological, responsible and sporting approach towards racing that will give endurance the place it deserves.
For its first full season, this programme meets the expectations of spectators, manufacturers, teams and partners with seven events on some of the most legendary motor racing circuits in strategic economic markets.”
The second running of the cup will feature an altered race format for otherwise distance based events. With priority now placed on timing, ILMC races will now run for a minimum of six hours. As opposed to the combination of distance/timed (i.e. 1000km/six hours) used in the past.
The updated 2011 ILMC schedule can be seen in current form below:
- Sebring 12 Hours (Florida USA) March 19, 2011.
- Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours (BEL) May 8, 2011.
- Le Mans 24 Hours (FRA), June 11/12, 2011.
- Imola 6 Hours (ITA) July 3, 2011.
- Silverstone 6 Hours (GBR) September 11, 2011.
- Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta, Georgia, USA) October 1, 2011.
- TBA 6-Hours race (China) November 12, 2011.