New Formula One boss Chase Carey has been named the official starter for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours in a move seen as "demonstrating new ties forged" between different series.
After Nico Hulkenberg was able to combine his regular schedule with Le Mans in 2015 and win the event, F1's 2016 calendar saw the new Grand Prix of Europe in Azerbaijan clash with the following year's edition. Unlike former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, Liberty Media has made it clear it is open to greater co-operation with other international series, including avoiding calendar clashes where possible.
In a gesture aimed at marking the new era of F1 under Liberty Media, Carey, who replaced Ecclestone at the start of 2017, will wave the flag at the start of the event-- an honour given to Hollywood actor Brad Pitt last year.
"I'm delighted that Chase Carey immediately accepted the invitation to be 2017 race starter. By starting the race side by side, we will be demonstrating the new ties forged between the ACO and Formula One, facilitated by Jean Todt, president of FIA, our partner in the World Endurance Championship,"said Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) that runs Le Mans.
"The ACO has always been strongly attached to the passion for endurance racing, its history and above all to the fans, the people who make the discipline what it is. With Chase Carey as head of Formula One, the time has come to work together on the sporting calendar, to ensure fans can follow the Grand Prix and endurance racing seasons and enjoy both disciplines to the full."