Six events are programmed for the first season of the Asian Le Mans Series in 2013. They are spread all over the Asian continent with three races in China at the start of the year followed by an event in South Korea, another in Japan and the final round in Indonesia.
All the events will have the same format: free practice sessions on Friday with qualifying on Saturday and a 3-hour race on Sunday, with option to increase race distance in future years.
Full Asian Le Mans Series Calendar is as follows:
28th April 2013, Zhuhai (China)
26th May 2013, Shanghai (China)
7th July 2013, Ordos (China)
4th August 2013, Inje (South Korea)
22nd September, Fuji Speedway (Japan)
8th December Sentul (Indonesia)
The GTC category will be made up with car homologated to FIA GT3 and Super GT300 specification with a balance of performance provided by the ACO.
In order to help the maximum number of Asian entrants to learn the ropes of endurance racing with teams will consist of two or three drivers (open choice but there must be an amateur and a professional). Each line-up in each category must have at least one driver who is a native of the continent. The aim is to help bring on new talent, and also to help a few drivers who have problems finding seats.
Three invitations for the 2014 Le Mans 24 hours will be awarded to the 2013 winners of the LM P2, LM GTE and GTC categories (the GTC winners will have to enter a GTE Am car for Le Mans). The 2013 winning LM PC team will be given an invitation to take part in the 2014 test day for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
To date interest from teams, manufactures and partners have exceeded expectation and organizers expect the grid to be strong across all categories in 2013. Official team registration will commence on 28th October 2012 and run through 20th March 2013.
Organizers of the Asian Le Mans Series, are also in the process of establishing a comprehensive marketing and media program around the Series and recently announced that is has already secured two prestigious TV broadcast partners to show its races in 2013, those being, ESPN STAR Sports and Eurosport Asia-Pacific.
The Automobile Club de l'Ouest has entrusted the organization of this new Series to promoters S2M Group, established in China since 1999 and already an ACO partner for the ILMC races staged at Zhuhai in 2010 and 2011, which has been. TS Motorsport, established in Shanghai since 2005, will look after the logistics and race operating activities of the races. The ACO and its team of scrutineers and officials will be present to help this new championship get off the ground in 2013.
Pierre Fillon, Automobile Club de l’Ouest President: “The launch of a series of endurance races on the Asian continent bearing the name and embodying the values of the Le Mans 24 Hours is an essential step in the context of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s development on the international scene.
It is our duty to put on Le Mans-type endurance races where the markets are surging from an economic point of view: concerning the motor car, the Asian one is the uncontested world leader. Like all our championships that follow the Le Mans 24-Hours spirit that has lasted 89 years, the Asian Le Mans Series will enable manufacturers to showcase the reliability of their products and enhance their image, as well as demonstrating the soundness of their new technologies in a sporting, competitive spirit guaranteed by the values of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. Our dearest wish is that an Asian driver, an Asian team or a manufacturer/constructor from the Asian Le Mans Series wins the Le Mans 24 Hours."
Mark Thomas, Managing Director of S2M Group: “Firstly I would like to thank the ACO for giving S2M Group the opportunity to be involved in the Asian Le Mans Series. Today’s calendar launch is the culmination of much time and work in terms of preparation and planning. Such a pan-Asian endurance motor sports Series cannot be successful without the collaboration of many different partners not least the respective National Associations and circuits that will host the races but also all the prospective manufacturers, teams and commercial partners that will be involved. In reality, today marks the start of much hard work to create a successful Asian Le Mans Series for many years to come. However we are confident with the team and partners we are bringing together we can cement the Series as one of the preeminent motor sports properties in Asia."