The Asian Le Mans Series will hold a race Thailand this year following a re-shuffle of its calendar.
In a Sportscar365 exclusive, series boss Mark Thomas confirmed the championship will compete at the new Buriram International Circuit on Nov. 21-23.
The new Hermann Tilke-designed circuit, located 250 miles northeast of Bangkok, replaces the Zhuhai round, which was originally scheduled for Oct. 24-26.
“We were talking to our friends in Thailand at the new Buriram circuit for 2015,” Thomas told Sportscar365. “But when we heard about the Zhuhai situation, we said, ‘How about we do a race in Thailand instead?'”
Thomas said Zhuhai, which hosted the only Chinese round of the Asian LMS last year, was no longer feasible due to the companion Chinese Touring Car Championship (CTCC) event being moved to a street race in the Guangzhou provence.
Construction of the new Buriram circuit, built to FIA Grade 1 standards, is nearing completion, with Super GT scheduled to hold a race in October.
“I think we’re very excited to have the opportunity to go to a new market like Thailand, which is just starting to really kick off in terms of motorsports,” Thomas said. “There’s lots of teams and fans and enthusiasts.”
Another change in the calendar is a date shift for the Fuji round, which will now be run as a standalone event on Aug. 30-31. It was originally scheduled to be paired with Super GT three weeks earlier.
All other remaining dates remain unchanged, including the season-opener at Inje Speedium on July 20, with the Korean circuit now under new management.
“For us, what we’ve got now is probably a more exciting schedule,” Thomas said. “Certainly from a marketing standpoint, it’s more of a full program.
“We go to five tier-one Asian countries, four of those tracks are [FIA] Grade 1 tracks. We’re racing in some really nice places. It sets a really good foundation in terms of where we want to go in the future.”
Asian Le Mans Series Schedule (Revised):
July 20 – Inje, South Korea
Aug. 31 – Fuji, Japan
Oct. 12 – Shanghai, China
Nov. 23 – Buriram, Thailand
Dec. 7 – Sepang, Malaysia