The race was first run on October 10, 1998 as part of the IMSA season, then in 1999 became one of the original events of the American Le Mans Series. It uses the rules established for the 24 hours of Le Mans by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), which are slightly modified if necessary, mainly to allow additional cars to compete.
The race covers a maximum of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) (which is approximately 394 laps) or a maximum of 10 hours, whichever comes first; in its history the leading team has never failed to complete 1,000 miles (1,600 km). In addition to the overall race, teams of two or three drivers per car compete for class victories in four different classes of cars, two for Le Mans prototypes and two for grand tourer cars. Class winners of this event receive an automatic invitation to the following year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The race was founded by Dr. Don Panoz, the owner of the Panoz Motor Sports Group. Panoz also owns the American Le Mans Series, Road Atlanta, Sebring International Raceway, and Mosport International Raceway.