Image credit: Buriram United International Circuit (http://bric.co.th/)
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) has today announced changes to the Asian Le Mans Series calendar and the addition of an additional event will be held at Thailand’s newly built FIA Grade One Buriram circuit on January 8-10 2016.
The Malaysian round, initially scheduled on Dec 20th 2015 at the Sepang circuit will now be held on 22-24 January 2016 instead.
Looking forwards to the 2016/2017 calendar the series will be comprised of five 3h (minimum) races to be held from September 2016 until the end of February 2017 in Japan, China, Malaysia and Thailand.
Both the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 calendars have been scheduled to ensure that wherever possible they avoid clashes with other major Asian Pacific international motorsports events.
“This proposed calendar combined with the substantial effort from the ACO to design a more attractive platform will contribute to a newly revitalized Asian Le Mans Series.” said Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Asian Le Mans Series Operations Manager. “With 4 events, a first visit in Thailand and a calendar that will better suit both the Asian and European teams we are ready for a new start”.
The Asian Le Mans Series’ GT class will provide a more diverse grid than the ELMS, WEC or TUSCC with GTE, GT3 and Super GT300 cars being eligible. Asian spec Porsche Cup, Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Audi R8 LMS Cup cars will be eligible for the GT-Am class.
The ACO also announced the current cars will be eligible until the end of the 2018/19 season, despite new regulations coming into play for GT cars in other series in 2016 and LMP2 cars in 2017.
The series will also provide entries for three of the full-season entries to La Sarthe in 2016, the winners of LMP2, GT (invited to the GTE class) and finally the LMP3 winners will recieve an invite to the LMP2 class subject to a minimum of 3 entries in the ASLMS LMP3 category. Should this minimum be not reached the invitation will be granted to the 2nd team of the GT overall classification which will be invited to GT-Am.
The revitalised series will also boast Pan Asian TV broadcasts and a redefined, more efficient online, digital and social media exposure.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO): “The ACO strongly believes in the Asian market potential for Endurance Racing and wishes to play a major role in this region in the near future.
“That is why we have decided to take over the organization of the Asian Le Mans Series, in order to secure this very important pillar of our racing pyramid”.
The full 2015/2016 Asian Le Mans Series now consists of four events:
Fuji (Japan) – October 10th 2015 – 1 x 2h race (WEC event)
Shanghai (China) – October 31st 2015 – 1 x 1h20 race (WEC event)
Buriram (Thailand) – January 10th 2016 – 1 x 3h race
Sepang (Malaysia) – January 24th 2016 – 1 x 3h race