10 Minutes With … Automobile Club de l’Ouest on the Centenary year of 24 Hours of Le Mans

License Global speaks with Sandrine Weyders, François Brindeau and Paul Jouvet to discuss 24 Hours of Le Mans’ licensing plans for its centenary race.
Ian Hart

January 18, 2023

(From L to R): François Brindeau, Sandrine Weyders and Paul Jouvet.
(From L to R): François Brindeau, Sandrine Weyders and Paul Jouvet. Automobile Club de l’Ouest

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest Licensing (ACO) department, which was set up in 2009, is composed of Sandrine Weyders, licensing development and coordination, François Brindeau, merchandise and license manager and Paul Jouvet, licensing development manager, each with different backgrounds.  

Between them, they manage over ten categories in the

24 Hours of Le Mans

licensing program.  

This is a big year for 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the centenary in June. What has been the key to success for a brand with such longevity? 

The values that underpin the Automobile Club de l’Ouest are the key to the race’s long-term success.

This race is built on firmly rooted values that reflect the demands, tests and unpredictability of sport: avant-gardism, sharing and team spirit are the quintessence of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The ACO has always been a step ahead, pioneering the future of motoring. 

What can you tell me about some of the licensing plans you have in place to mark the milestone? You partnered with the Monnaie de Paris to create a unique centenary trophy for the winner of the race.  

We have spent the last two years working on the centenary, establishing the right partnerships to match the prestige of the event.

The Monnaie de Paris, the institution responsible for producing France’s coins, has already produced a unique trophy for

the race, but we have yet to unveil the coin collection that will commemorate the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary.

Major players in the toy, luxury and automotive sectors will feature the race in their collections this year and we still have some surprises up our sleeve.

What excites you most about creating new collaborations and how do those collaborations help to raise the profile of the brand outside of France? 

Le Mans has fans all over the world. But purchasing habits differ from country to country. It’s up to us to respond to increasing demand, conquer new markets and categories via partnerships and continue to develop sales in our core areas. 

A successful licensing project is based on shared values, great storytelling and collaboration. By pooling resources in terms of branding, communication and distribution networks and coordinating our promotion campaigns, we boost the notoriety of the 24 Hours of Le Mans brand. 

What challenges come with planning licensing around an event that only lasts for a weekend once a year? 

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is not just a one-day event, it’s a way of life, to be experienced all year round. But of course, race week is prime time where sales are concerned. 

Our main challenge is unauthorized use of the brand and the protection of our intellectual property.  

Open Edition Pens, 24 Hours of Le Mans

What are the current trends in sports licensing? 

The Web3 is revolutionizing all our ecosystems. CSR is already a focus for the ACO, and licensing plays a role there too.  

Our event is part of French heritage, and the centenary is therefore a national event.  

You will be exhibiting at the inaugural France Licensing Day & Licensing International Awards in Paris in March. Why was it important for you to be there and what are your goals? 

Whilst we are celebrating the race’s 100th anniversary this year, the Centenary is just the first chapter in this story.

Firstly, we want to be there to share the love of this exceptional event and, secondly, we are looking forward to forging more ties and establishing more long-term partnerships.  

France Licensing Day & Licensing International Awards

takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris in Paris, France, on Mar. 9, 2023. 

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