Current times have given the team at SportscarGlobal (SCG) an opportunity to consider how we can serve fans like ourselves of the Endurance Motorsport genre better. One omission has been dependable weekly round up of the news. So here is what we have come across this past week –
Asian Le Mans Series Condensed Calendar Released
With the pandemic induced delay to the 2020 season, and need to right that in 2021, compression and cost have produced an innovative response from the Asian Le Mans Series. In consultation with the private teams involved a Season in one month Jan-21 has been scheduled as a two centre 4 rounds of 4-hour races that still deliver variety of setting and circumstances.
Season commences 9th January at Buriram with the second round two-days later (11th) at the same venue. The series then transfers to Sepang Malaysia for round three on the 23rd January and concludes at the same circuit on the 26th. In just three weeks an aspiring driver can achieve the life goal of a seat in June at the World’s Greatest Race, Le Mans.
Further details and quotes can be found on the Series site here
Factory Porsche withdraw from IMSA’s GTLM category at the end of 2020
Porsche Motorsport has announced it will conclude its direct involvement with the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship at the end of the 2020 season due to the financial impact of the current pandemic. This may leave the GTLM category in jeopardy with just two current factory entrants in 2021, Corvette Racing and BMW. Whilst Corvette are championing their new car the C8.R, the BMW M8 GTE programme has been around some time and of course has already stepped back from the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Whilst finances in the automotive industry are under-substantial threat on multiple fronts (pandemic, electrification of the market etc..) the Championship Organisers are providing the opportunity to transition. Beyond the immediate threats Convergence of both the Prototype and GT categories is now a necessity for the future. If Virtual Racing continues to capture column inches the real threat to our passion could become all too final, it is worrying how today’s youth culture could embrace virtualisation, social distancing and screen time as the threatening ‘New Normal’.
More from Porsche on their departure here
McLaren suspend their British GT Driver Development Programme for 2020
Earlier this week McLaren announced substantial job losses across their automotive operations, hence it came as little surprise that their Driver Development Programme run in conjunction with Tolman Motorsport would be cancelled for the remainder of 2020. The four drivers, Katie Milner, Michael Benyahia, Alain Valente and Harry Hayek will be retained for a proposed 2021 programme.
For Tolman Motorsport this presents a particularly tough situation as to maintain their operation they have a number of seats to fill for the balance of 2020.. A deal surely to be done for some lucky folks.. More from the British GT here
Bentley drop IGTC to focus on Customer-led Programmes
And closely aligned to the McLaren news the factory M-Sport team was withdrawn from the International GT Championship despite such a successful start to the season at Bathurst. Customer teams K-Pak, CMR, Team Parker Racing and Lazarus will continue to represent the team with enhanced support when the season resumes at the Indy-8hr on 2-4th October. More information and quotes can be found here
Glickenhaus confirm a 2-car LMH Entry for the 24-hours of Le Mans in 2021
Finally and with a fanfare of little surprise, Glickenhaus has committed Two 007 Hypercars to their 2021 campaign which will commence at Sebring, taking in Spa and then onto Le Mans. In all that 2020 has provided to-date, it is great to see a small passionate independent team willing to commit and plan ahead to a future free of the current restrictions. We salute them and look forward to following their journey to La Sarthe. More details can be found here
Upcoming Events –
Creventic 24-Hour Series returns at Portimao – 12th – 14th June – Further details here
Virtual Le Mans 24hr – 13th-14th June – Further details here