Although it is to be known as Le Petit Le Mans, or The Little Le Mans, the economic benefits of the 1,000 mile auto endurance race to be held at Road Atlanta in Braselton Oct. 10 could become quite large, Jean-Paul Couasnon, managing director of the Le Mans Economic Development Agency in France, said at a news conference held in Atlanta.

      Mr. Couasnon said during the conference on July 15 at the Swiss™tel that more than 200,000 spectators come to see the annual race in France and that each visitor pays around 1,000 francs or roughly $167 for a total of 200 million francs or $33.4 million.

      These totals, he added, do not include all the event-related revenues such as the advertising promoting the event in a variety of media.

      Aside from whatever revenues the race may generate in itself, Mr. Couasnon said that potentially there could be added benefits as businesspeople from both areas come to know each other.

      The mayor of Le Mans, Robert Jarry, will lead a delegation of 30 or more civic and business leaders from the Sarthe district where Le Mans is located.  Sports is a good way to put people together, Mr. Couasnon said pointing to a number of similar economic sectors shared by Georgia and Sarthe.

      Sarthe has attracted more than 100 companies in the past decade including high-tech firms such as Philips, which has made Le Mans its mobile phone center.  It also is the site of

      The Petit Le Mans is part of an exclusive five-year agreement between L’Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), which hosts the race in Le Mans, and Panoz Motor Sports.

      The Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center is part of the Panoz group of companies and is undergoing a multi-million dollar facelift to bring it up to international standards.

      Other companies in the Panoz group include Panoz Motor Sports, with race teams competing in the FIA GT World Sports Car championship; Sebring International Raceway and Panoz Auto Development, a manufacturer of limited-production, high-performance sports cars.  Chateau Elan, a resort in northern Georgia, also belongs to the group.

      For more information about the economic mission coming to Atlanta, Mr. Couasnon may be reached at 0033 2 43 57 72 24 or send an e-mail to  Tickets for the race may be ordered by calling 1-800-849-RACE or call Bill Donalson at (317) 815-5575 for more information.