The Asian Le Mans Series has published their provisional calendar for 2020/21 with some significant adjustments to both recognise the challenges presented to teams by the COVID19 crisis, and to enable teams to take up the maximum level of raci9ng opportunity in other affiliated ACO Series.
The four-race calendar of four-hour races will start, as planned, at Suzuka in Japan on 29 November before continuing in China, a race in Shanghai on 13 December.
The pair of 2021 fixtures see the Series return to Children’s Day in Thailand (9 January) with a race at Buriram on before the season concludes at Sepang on 23 January.
That omits the popular fixture at The Bend for this coming season but with finances likely to be tight the Series have opted for a more economical approach for the coming season.
The class structure remains unchanged – LMP2, LMP2 Am, LMP3 and GT but with the LMP2 Am class now featuring the current breed of Gibson-powered LMP2 cars and LMP3 graduating to the new for 2020 LMP3 cars.
The earlier finish to the season should also enable European-based teams to ship cars back to Europe for the start of the 2021 ELMS.
- Round 1: Suzuka Circuit, Japan. 29 November 2020
- Round 2: Shanghai International Circuit, China. 13 December 2020
- Round 3: Buriram Chang International Circuit, Thailand. 9 January 2021
- Round 4: Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. 23 January 2021
*Subject to the evolution of the Covid-19 situation
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “The world is facing an unprecedented situation that calls for exceptional measures. Motorsport series around the world are being postponed or even cancelled – it is our responsibility to help guide all ACO Series through this tough time.
“We need to give everyone ample notice so that they can plan accordingly. We will, of course, be listening to the advice from the health authorities and will take all necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of all those involved.”
Q&A with Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Managing Director of the Asian Le Mans Series:
How can you plan this far in advance?
Despite the difficult times we are all going through, and the uncertainty we are all operating in, we feel it is important that we let our teams and drivers know what our initial plans are and provide them visibility of our new Season.
The health and well-being of our team, the competitors who race with us, our fans and all members of our paddock remains our priority. Therefore, we will continue to monitor the situation very closely and react immediately with a Plan B ready, should the situation require.
This season will finish earlier, why is that?
There were a number of reasons why we have condensed our season. In addition to seriously considering the current challenging climate, we also had to consider a combination of shipping constraints, track availability, plus avoiding clashes with other significant events in the region. We must also consider the Chinese New Year break (12th of February 2021) which prevents us from holding a race for most of February.
As a result of finishing earlier, teams will now have sufficient time to ship, (rather than air freight), their cars and equipment back to their home base before the start of the European, American or Australasian Championships.
Why will you not be returning to The Bend this season?
The entire paddock enjoyed our first trip to Australia and in particular, the exciting challenges The Bend Motorsport Park offered the drivers. Unfortunately given the current global situation and its economic consequences, coupled with the logistics and calendar constraints we had to make the very difficult decision not to return in the 2020 / 2021 season. We remain absolutely committed to returning to Australia and The Bend Motorsport Park as soon as possible.