Featured on Downforce Radio‘s official website on April 6, 2020
The Asian Le Mans Series have released their provisional calendar for 2020/2021 season with some significant changes which impacted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The series will kick-off their campaign in the iconic Suzuka Circuit on 29th November 2020, followed by the second round at Shanghai International Circuit in China on 13th December 2020.
The changes in the provisional calendar also see Buriram International Circuit, Thailand host the third round of 2021 fixture, in conjunction with the National Children’s Day on 9th January 2021 before the series concludes under the lights at the former F1 Grand Prix venue, Sepang International Circuit on 23rd January 2021.
The short Asian Le Mans Series 2020/2021 season calendar has been designed to avoid clashing with other events in the region, whilst also considering the 2021 Chinese New Year break and is based on the best possible logistics route. The calendar will also enable the teams to ship cars back to Europe or America when the season finished earlier.
Meanwhile, the class structure remains unchanged – LMP2, LMP2 Am, LMP3 and GT. But, the only change from 2020 / 2021 season will be to the cars eligible in both LMP2 Am and LMP3 categories. The latest generation LMP2 cars from the 2019/2020 season will be only eligible to race in both the outright and Am Trophy class, while the LMP3 class will be upgraded to the 2020-spec car built by four manufacturers – Ligier, Duqueine Engineering, Ginetta and Adess.
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.
2020 / 2021 Asian Le Mans Series Provisional Calendar*
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