The future of the Asian Le Mans Series will be revealed this weekend, as the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has scheduled a press conference during the season-ending round at Sepang.
ACO President Pierre Fillon, however, confirmed to Sportscar365 that the championship will continue next year, but likely with some changes following a season that saw record low car counts, leading to the cancelation of one race.
“It was a difficult year for us,” Fillon told Sportscar365. “It was very difficult because the culture of motorsport is very young in Asia.
“We have the next race in Sepang [this weekend] and we will have a press conference during the event to announce the plans for next year.
“We will continue and we need to improve the grid. In Shanghai, we met with a lot of teams and had a lot of discussions with us. They support us and we’ll continue for next year.”
The series failed to reach double-digit numbers on the grid this year, with a series-low six cars taking the green flag for the season-opening round at Korea’s Inje Speedium in July.
The ACO currently holds a partnership with Shanghai-based S2M Group, led by Mark Thomas, in the organization and promotion of the championship since its launch in 2013.
S2M was due to release the 2015 schedule during the FIA WEC event in Shanghai in October, after finalizing a draft provisional calendar that was sent to teams and stakeholders.
While Fillon would not comment on a potential change of promoter, he did reiterate the importance of the Asian market and platform for the ACO.
“It’s very important, not only for the market, but we have this pyramid of endurance,” he said. “We have America with the TUDOR [Championship], we have a strong European championship and we need to have an Asian championship. For Le Mans, it’s very important.
“Our other target is to have young drivers and a Chinese or Taiwanese constructor [in endurance racing], so it’s very important for us.”