A new international racing series has been confirmed for next year. The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organisers of Le Mans, have formed a partnership to run the FIA World Endurance Championship starting in 2012.

The calendar of the first season will mirror the existing Intercontinental Le Mans Cup series, and the famous 24 Le Mans race will be the highlight. ACO’s ILMC made its debut at the end of last year with a three-round pilot series. Besides Le Mans, this year’s ILMC calendar includes races such as the Sebring 12 Hours, Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours, Imola 6 Hours, Silverstone 6 Hours, Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta, USA) and a 6-Hour race in China.

In order to symbolically seal this partnership, FIA president Jean Todt has been asked to start the 79th edition of the 24 Hours Le Mans race next week. “I am delighted to welcome the return of the FIA Endurance World Championship, especially with a promoter like ACO. I am also very pleased to have a legendary race like the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of it,” the Datuk Seri said.

With the WEC in place, FIA World Endurance Championship titles will be awarded to constructors and drivers, and an FIA GT Endurance World Cup will be created for constructors.