The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has announced a number of changes for the Asian Le Mans Series, including a move to a winter calendar and the addition of a fourth round in January.
A new event at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand has been added for January, while a revised date for the Malaysian round, initially scheduled for Dec. 17, was also confirmed.
The series will still get underway at Fuji Speedway on Oct. 10 alongside the FIA WEC, before heading to Shanghai three weeks later.
Buriram will host the third round of the series on Jan. 10, with the season now set to finish with a three-hour race at Sepang on Jan. 24.
It was also confirmed that the 2016/2017 calendar will have five races, all at least three hours long. The 2016/2017 season will run from Sept. 2016 until Feb. 2017.
“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 newly appointed Asian Le Mans Series Operations Manager Cyrille Taesch Wahlen.
“With four 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.”
Three full-season entries will receive invitations for the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours. The LMP2 winner will get an invitation for the LMP2 class, while the top-placed GT team will be invited to the GTE class at Le Mans.
The third invitation will be available for the LMP3 championship-winning team, although this will only apply when at least three LMP3 cars compete in the 2015/2016 season. If not, the second-placed team in GT will be invited to GTE-Am.
Cars eligible to race in the Asian Le Mans Series’ GT class are GTE, GT3 and Super GT300 cars. Porsche Cup, Ferrari Challenge, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Audi R8 LMS Cup cars will be allowed in 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 (2016) and LMP2 cars (2017).
2015/2016 Asian Le Mans Series Schedule:
Oct. 9-10 —Fuji Speedway (FIA WEC)
Oct. 30-31 — Shanghai (FIA WEC)
Jan. 8-10 — Buriram, Thailand
Jan. 22-24 — Sepang, Malaysia