Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, and Gérard Neveu, ELMS CEO, with Pascal Couasnon, Michelin Motorsport Manager, today announced the creation of a new GT racing series in 2016.

The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup will be launched next season and will run in parallel with the European Le Mans Series meetings, augmenting the already enhanced ELMS race week-ends.

The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup is reserved for GT3 category cars and will take part on five ELMS rounds : Imola, Red Bull Ring, Le Castellet, Spa and Estoril.  A sixth round will place at Le Mans in June as the opening race of the weekend at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“This new series is a logical step as part of the scheme adopted by the ACO for the development of endurance.” said Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO.

The series will run under an agreement with the French FFSA GT Tour promotor with 2-hour endurance meetings running under the ELMS meetings and 1-hour sprint races within the French GT Tour.  In each 2-driver crew in the new endurance race series, a bronze category driver will be mandatory for each line-up. With no scheduling clashes it means the GT3 Teams will be able to enter both competitions, keeping the same car number and the same tyre manufacturer, due to the fact that Michelin will be the title sponsor of the new ACO series.

“It will be for the best teams and drivers in GT3, a true gateway to access the GTE world and therefore to have the opportunity to join the family of the 24 hours of Le Mans.” Fillon continued.

Gérard Neveu, CEO of the European Le Mans Series, said: “This new series represents an excellent path for gentlemen drivers who want to progress in the world of endurance.

“We are extremely pleased by the very strong interest that has already been shown by many GT teams for this new series. We look forward to seeing you in 2016 for a season that promises to be superb.”

Now far be it from us to pour scorn on the ACO or ELMS/WEC, but one has to ask how many GT3 championships Europe can reasonably support …….. ?