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France in France

Grand-Am Road Racing founder and NASCAR Vice-Chairman Jim France will flag the start of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday June 22 as preparations continue to bring the new United SportsCar Racing series to US tracks in 2013.

The French flag with which France will give the start to the 2013 event will be handed to him symbolically on June 20 by Don Panoz in the presence of ACO President Pierre Fillon.

It is the first time in the 90-years’ history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans that the start of the race will have been given by two members of the same family, coming 37 years after his brother, Bill France Jr. started the great race.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest:

“We are particularly honoured that Jim France has accepted to give the start to the Le Mans 24 Hours in this very symbolic year, in which we’re celebrating the 90th anniversary of the greatest endurance race in the world. It proves just how close are the links between the club that created endurance racing and the authorities of North American motor sports."

Jim France:

“I will be waving the flag to start next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans on behalf of the entire North American sports car community. It demonstrates the universal interest in the consolidation of America’s two leading road racing organizations. The world-wide racing community is already anticipating the debut of United SportsCar Racing at the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona, with its close association to the ACO and link to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“On a personal note, it’s gratifying to serve in a role that my brother Bill performed in 1976. My dad Bill Sr. always appreciated the international appeal of sports car racing, which he felt was epitomized in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”