Michelin has collaborated with the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) to introduce the new ‘Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup,’ which will feature at both Le Mans, and at other rounds of the European Le Mans Series.
The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup has been created to ‘fill the gap in the endurance racing landscape’ which, until now, didn’t provide a chance for GT3 drivers and cars to compete around the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The event stands out as the highlight of the new series which features five other rounds that will serve as support races of European Le Mans Series and Formula Renault meetings at the Red Bull Ring (Austria), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Le Castellet (France), Estoril (Portugal) and Imola (Italy).
Rounds of the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup will be based on a format of two 60-minute free practice sessions and a 30-minute qualifying session (including a 10-minute ‘Superpole’ shootout) on the Friday, followed by a two-hour race on the Saturday.
The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup is open to FIA GT3 cars, with performance subject to a ‘Balance of Performance’ specified by the ACO. The two-driver crews must have at least one ‘bronze’-rated member who will be tasked with qualifying the car. The other may be ‘bronze’, ‘silver’ or ‘gold’, but ‘platinum’-listed drivers are not allowed.
Michelin, which has won such famous GT3-based long-distance classics as the Nürburgring 24 Hours and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, is the new championship’s exclusive tyre supplier.
The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup’s top finishers will share a total prize fund of €300,000 (US$342,000), with €100,000 (US$114,000) going to the outright champion – who will also be invited to contest the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours – and €10,000 (US$11,400) set aside for the winner of each round.