Following the announcement made on 20th April 2012 by the promoter of the 2012 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) confirming the eligibility of GT3 cars in the GTC category during the ELMS events, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest would like to make the following clarifications.
LM GTE’s future
- The LM GTE category (Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance) derived from the former GT2 regulations is still the benchmark category in Le Mans-type long-distance races complying with the ACO and FIA WEC regulations. - All the manufacturers entered in, or planning to enter, the GT category have all clearly expressed their wish to keep LM GTE as the unique technical regulations for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship. The ACO shares this point of view and has supplied them with solid guarantees concerning the future of LM GTE. - The ACO is working on a long-term development plan for LM GTE in close collaboration with the FIA. There is no other current project to open up the Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship to any categories other than LM P1, LM P2 and LM GTE.
The arrival of GT3 cars in the GTC category
- The GTC category was created first of all in the American Le Mans Series to allow new teams with a limited budget to take their first steps in endurance racing. It was based essentially on adapting cars from single-make championships like the Porsche Carrera Cup and the Ferrari Challenge to long-distance racing, and the GTC technical regulations are of real strategic interest for continental championships like the European Le Mans Series, which is a launch pad for entrants who wish to compete in endurance events. - As a comparison, GTC is the equivalent of the Formula Le Mans category (LM PC) in prototypes. - The ACO and Peter Auto decided to enlarge the field of eligibility in the GTC category by opening it up to GT3 cars to cope with a provisional situation and guarantee a big enough field for the European Le Mans Series. - Several championships exist for GT3 cars. The ACO is delighted with their success and has no intention of competing against the promoters who have chosen to invest in this category. - The list of measures to bring this project to a successful conclusion has been drawn up as follows:
- Only cars homologated by the FIA in GT3 are eligible.- Only cars whose performance can be modified to make them slower than cars in LM GTE are eligible (technical specification available in the near future). - In no case is there any question of inciting entrants already competing in other championships to withdraw and enter the ELMS. It’s quite the opposite in fact as the aim is to offer teams the possibility of writing off their investments and running costs in complementary events.
The ACO would like to point out to entrants and manufacturers that only their entry in the LM GTE category offers the perspective of a future in Le Mans-type endurance racing, with the possibility of competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours. The GTC (including GT3 category cars) gives entrants the opportunity to race in continental championships like the European Le Mans Series with their current cars and limited budgets in the same spirit as Formula Le Mans for sports prototypes.
These two categories, GTC and Formula Le Mans, are entry level competitions that do not exist outside the context of continental championships like the European Le Mans Series, the American Le Mans Series and the Asian Le Mans Series (currently being evaluated).