After two successful days of meetings with manufacturers, partners and media at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA World Endurance Championship hosted a press conference to present the championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans to the automotive media ahead of the start of the 2015 season.
Representatives from manufacturers and teams joined ACO President Pierre Fillon and FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu on the stage in front of a full auditorium.
The panel consisted of:
*Pierre Fillon – President, 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)
*Doug Fehan – Corvette Racing Program Manager (GTE-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 emphasize the importance of the U.S. manufacturers, teams and drivers to the ongoing success of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the growth of the FIA WEC.
Global Head of Nissan Marketing Roel de Vries explained further about the reasons for Nissan re-joining the top flight of endurance racing with its LMP1 entry this year.
Leading U.S. sports car 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 HPD ARX-04b coupe that the team will be racing 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.
Doug Fehan from Corvette Racing and Mark Kent, Director of GM Racing, spoke about the reasons for the U.S. Manufacturer’s long-standing involvement in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and what is means to the brand.
“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,” said Fillon.”
Neveu added: “We must first of all congratulate the organizers 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 U.S. 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 sports car racing.”