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Entrepreneur Don Panoz launched a new race in 1998 at his Road Atlanta circuit and with the blessing of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest. The 1000-mile Petit Le Mans was an immediate success and he organised the first American Le Mans Series a year later as a direct replacement for the once-great IMSA GT Championship.
With the Sebring 12 Hours also on the calendar and run to the prevailing Le Mans rules of the time, the series attracted factory support from manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, Porsche and then Peugeot. Just as in French endurance classic, Audi was the dominant force – winning each drivers' title from 2000-08.
However, just as in open wheel racing, there was eventually no place for two North American sports car series and the ALMS was acquired by Jim France's Grand-Am organisation in 2012. The result was the single United Sportscar Championship that was first run in 2014.