The FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA) and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), joint promoters of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) today announced details of the championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans to the automotive media ahead of the start of the 2015 season at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
Representatives from Manufacturers and Teams joined the President of the ACO and CEO of the FIA WEC on the stage in front of a full auditorium to present the coming season.
The panel consisted of –
- Pierre Fillon – President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO)
- Roel de Vries – Corporate VP, Global Head of Marketing Nissan (LMP1)
- Ed Brown – President Patron Spirits and Tequila Patron ESM (LMP2)
- Scott Sharp – Team owner/driver Tequila Patron ESM (LMP2)
- Patrick Dempsey – Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche driver (LMGTE-Am) (video link)
- Doug Fehan – Corvette Racing Program Manager (LMGTE-Pro Le Mans)
- Mark Kent – Director of GM Racing
- Gérard Neveu – CEO FIA World Endurance Championship
ACO President Pierre Fillon spoke first to thank the people of Detroit for the warm welcome and to emphasise the importance of the US manufacturers, teams and drivers to the ongoing success of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the growth of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Nissan is joining the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015 with a full manufacturer entry in LMP1 to challenge Audi, Porsche and Toyota for the world title. Global Head of Marketing Roel de Vries explained further about the reasons for Nissan re-joining the top flight of endurance racing.
Leading US Sportscar team Tequila Patron ESM will be competing in their first full season in the FIA WEC and Ed Brown and Scott Sharp spoke about their move onto the world stage and the brand new Honda Performance Development ARX-04b (HPD) coupe that the team will be racing in the LMP2 category in 2015.
Hollywood and Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey joined the press conference by video with a quick Q&A session on why he has chosen to compete on the world stage in 2015 with a full season entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Doug Fehan from Corvette Racing and Mark Kent, Director of GM Racing, spoke about the reasons for the US Manufacturer’s long-standing involvement in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and what is means to the brand.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “We never stop working on the development worldwide of Le Mans-type endurance racing thanks to the FIA World Endurance Championship and continental series like the Tudor United SportsCar Championship in North America. It was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to meet to discuss these future developments with Jim France. The Detroit Motor Show is the ideal place to meet the major players in the car industry and to reinforce endurance racing, a future-oriented branch of motor sport, whose attraction for the major manufacturers continues to grow.”
FIA WEC Chief Executive Officer Gérard Neveu summed up the two days in Detroit, “We must first of all congratulate the organisers of the North American International Auto Show on the very impressive event they have put on here in Detroit.
“The NAIAS has provided the ACO and the FIA WEC with a fantastic platform with which to promote Le Mans style endurance racing. The US market is very important to the FIA World Endurance Championship, our teams and partners. We are now in our fourth season and we are providing more manufacturers with the facility to develop the technology of the future, and more teams and drivers from the United States are looking at the WEC as the future of sportscar racing. We will be back in the USA this September for the Lone Star Le Mans event in Austin. We hope you will be able to join us.”
The full list of entries for the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will be the third round of the championship, will be announced in Paris, France on 5th February.