The American Le Mans Series' increasing popularity amongst manufacturers is being mirrored by a healthy rise in attendance too, latest figures show.
Coming after a hugely competitive weekend at Road Atlanta for the blue riband Petit Le Mans event, ALMS organisers revealed a total of 113,000 people packed into the venue over the course of the weekend.
Lured by the prospect of a titanic tussle between rivals Audi and Peugeot, as well as Porsche and Acura, seven Le Mans 24 Hours winners, as well as five CART or IndyCar champions, all made an appearance for the ten-hour spectacular.
In the end, Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro came out on top in a fierce battle with Peugeot for Audi's ninth straight Petit Le Mans win.
Helping the average attendance figure for this season's events to creep up to eight per cent over 2007, ALMS president and CEO Scott Atherton was delighted to see the series' popularity on an upward trajectory.
"The record-setting crowd at Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6 was a continuation of what we have seen all season - and further confirms that our fans see the American Le Mans Series as the most innovative, relevant and exciting form of motorsport in the world," he said.
"These results are especially satisfying given the constant barrage of doom-and-gloom headlines about the economy, fuel supply shortages and other issues that were unavoidable in the weeks preceding the event.
“Despite all of these factors working against us, spectators turned out in numbers never before seen at Road Atlanta. And with a truly world-class field combined with one of the most spectacular finishes we have ever seen, fans were no doubt rewarded for their attendance."
The popularity of ALMS is set to grow in 2009 with the prospect of Acura graduating to the LMP1 category, while GT2 is set to see new entrants from BMW and Corvette too.