Teams contesting the GT World Challenge in Europe and Asia will be eligible to earn automatic invitations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 2023 as part of a new partnership between the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and SRO Motorsports Group.
The two organisations have announced a collaboration to co-organise the Asian Le Mans Series from 2023. A part of that deal includes two new automatic invitations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, open to teams in SRO-organised series. With the partnership kicking off in 2023, the 2024 edition of the great race will be the first that GT World Challenge teams will be able to take part in.
“This joint collaboration is the best way to ensure the success and the development of the Asian Le Mans Series, the expertise of the three companies will be beneficial for the competitors,” said ACO president Pierre Fillon.
“Alongside the ACO, Stéphane played an important role in the creation of the European Le Mans Series and we share a lot of the same values when it comes to the vision of our sport.”
The first new automatic invitation will be for teams contesting the GT World Challenge Europe. It is not yet clear which class in the series will exactly be able to earn the invitations, as WEC’s GT racing formula is set to undergo an overhaul for the 2024 season.
The ACO has previously said that its new GT3-based category will be for Pro-Am teams only, which would suggest the invitation would go to a Pro-Am team. When asked, however, ACO president Pierre Fillon declined to comment, stating that more would be unveiled at a later date.
The second automatic invitation will be for a joint ranking between the Asian Le Mans Series and the SRO’s GT World Challenge Asia series.
This will count with a series of races under the GT World Challenge Asia banner and additional endurance-format races as part of the Asian Le Mans Series. GT3 entries that contest both series will be able to compete for an automatic invitation into the French endurance classic.
“The idea would be to have to have five sprint races under the name GT World Challenge and another four to five in the endurance format under the Asian Le Mans Series,” SRO Motorsports Group CEO Stepháne Ratel explained. “The points of both series will combine, and the winner of the combination will get an entry into Le Mans.”
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