The calendar for the 2018/ 2019 Asian Le Mans Series has been confirmed at a press conference in Sepang Malaysia presented by ACO President Pierre Fillon, with a four race schedule that sees the Series returning to Shanghai and continuing at Fuji, Buriram and Sepang.
The Series retains four automatic entries for the Le Mans 24 Hours: the winner of the LMP2 and LMP3 classes will each receive an entry in the LMP2 class at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans and there will be two LM GTE class entries for GT winners.
The new calendar also makes changes to the start and finish dates for the season in Asia The season now begins at the end of November, ensuring it avoids clashes with other Asian series, but also allows Asian teams wishing to compete in other Championships globally the opportunity to do so.
The first round of the Season will commence at the Shanghai International Circuit, the first of four FIA Grade 1 Circuits. This will be a return to the Chinese circuit for the Asian Le Mans Series for the first time since 2014. Shanghai has been an ever-present feature of the FIA World Endurance Championship, (FIA WEC) since its inception in 2012. This year the two races will be back to back with the Asian Le Mans Series visiting the week following the FIA WEC.
The Shanghai race will be run in conjunction with the China Touring Car Championship (CTCC).
The Series will again race in Fuji Speedway in December and will return to Buriram in Thailand in mid-January to once again co-incide with the Thai national Children’s Day which brings with it large crowds.
The final round will again be held in the Sepang International Circuit, however in a significant date change, the final round will be held at the end of February, after the Chinese New Year period. That will also prevent a clash with the Bathurst 12 Hour.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “The ACO is fully supportive of the development of the Asian Le Mans Series. The Asian Region is a key one for us and we see great potential, not only in terms of teams and drivers, but also in the growing interest in endurance racing from a new audience.
“The 2018/19 calendar will feature races held at world class circuits and reflects the high standard of racing we have seen in the Asian Le Mans Series.”
Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Asian Le Mans Series Managing Director: “Our objectives for next season were to create both a more attractive calendar, and to develop, with the teams, a more attractive platform.
“We have secured, four Grade 1 circuits on dates that fit perfectly within the FIA WEC ‘Super Season’ break, whilst also giving more teams from both the region, and abroad, the opportunity to join us.
“We will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure we create a sustainable environment for the Series.”
2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series Calendar details:
Round 1: China, Shanghai International Circuit 23/25 November 2018
Round 2: Japan, Fuji Speedway 7/9 December 2018
Round 3: Thailand, Buriram Chang International Circuit 10/12 January 2019
Round 4: Malaysia, Sepang International Circuit 22/24 February 2019