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Asian Le Mans Series Moves To Abu Dhabi For 2021

COVID-19-related travel restrictions see venue and date change

The 2020/21 Asian Le Mans Series will take place in February 2021 with four races, all to be held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

The season will start with the first two races held between the 4th/6th of February.

The final two races are expected to be held on the 18th/20th February.

The new season will continue to be comprised of four x four hour races. The races will be run on two different layouts of the track, as well as combining night, day and twilight racing. The full schedule and entry list will be released at a later date.

The season is set to see Yas Marina holding ACO rules racing for the first time and, whilst limited numbers of LMP3 cars have raced as part of the Gulf 12 Hours in recent years, LMP2 machinery and the new generation of LMP3 will be making their debuts in Abu Dhabi.

The change comes, as for so many other Series of late, as a result of ongoing travel restrictions in South East Asia where the Series initially announced a calendar in January 2021 across Buriram (Thailand) and Sepang (Malaysia).

Negotiations and preparations have been going on in parallel for some time to try to deliver the initial January calendar whilst putting in place a contingency plan with Series partners and interested teams kept abreast of the situation throughout.

The decision is being taken now to ensure that teams and drivers have the maximum possible time to plan their programmes with all teams having registered an interest in the Series already informed of the likely move ahead of today’s announcement.

Several teams known to be in negotiation to join the grid have expressed satisfaction both with the change (and some associated cost savings), and with the quality of liaison and communication from the Series’ senior management.

In a statement, the Asian Le Mans Series makes it clear that there is real disappointment over not returning to the Sepang International Circuit nor the Chang International Circuit in Buriram in 2021.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest:

“This year has been unprecedented for all of us. Establishing this new calendar for the Asian Le Mans Series is not a decision that we have taken lightly. It is one that takes into consideration the challenges we have and presents an exciting alternative. It opens up new opportunities for the Series as it continues the strong growth seen over recent years. I look forward to watching the growth continue, and a season full of close racing.”

Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Managing Director of the Asian Le Mans Series: 

“2020 has thrown up significant challenges for all of us due to the global impact of Covid-19. It is our responsibility to respond to these challenges in a way that not only ensures the health and safety of all of those involved, but also protects the sport and our teams. Each decision we make must find the right balance – offering exciting and enjoyable racing in a cost-effective manner, without compromising the quality of our Series.

“My thanks are also extended to all of our stakeholders for their patience and support of this change. We look forward to welcoming them to Abu Dhabi in February!”

Saif Al Noaimi, Acting CEO Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management (ADMM):

“We look forward to welcoming the Asian Le Mans Series to Yas Marina Circuit. Abu Dhabi and Yas Island has proven itself to be a leading destination to hold global sporting events in a safe manner, and we hope the teams and drivers enjoy what will no doubt be a great event in the motorsports calendar.”