The Asian Le Mans Series has adjusted its 2021 calendar with the upcoming season now set to start one week later than originally planned with two races at Dubai Autodrome.
The Asian LMS was initially due to run its entire season at Yas Marina Circuit with two double-header race meetings on Feb. 4-6 and Feb. 19-20, but the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix venue will now only stage the final two four-hour enduros.
Dubai Autodrome has joined the schedule as the venue for the first two rounds of the season on Feb. 13-14, meaning all races will still be held in the United Arab Emirates.
The schedule adjustment comes as the Asian LMS seeks to guarantee that its season can go ahead under the travel restrictions put in place to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Introducing a meeting in Dubai means that teams and series personnel won’t need to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Abu Dhabi.
The rules for entering Abu Dhabi currently state that most international arrivals including almost all Europeans must quarantine for 10 days, although this can be reduced if the individual has been in a different emirate for up to 10 days.
Holding the Dubai races on Feb. 13-14 enables teams to use up part of their 10-day ‘quarantine’ stretch, therefore reducing isolation times upon arrival into Abu Dhabi.
Entries into Dubai will be determined by the results of a COVID-19 test.
Under the previous Abu Dhabi-only calendar, Asian LMS teams would have needed to quarantine for 10 days before the first round of the season.
Additionally, anyone deciding to travel outside of the UAE after the first double-header meeting would have needed to quarantine again upon arrival for the second pair of races.
A statement from the Asian Le Mans Endurance Management read:
“The primary focus of the ALMEM team remains the delivery of a safe and successful 2021 Asian Le Mans Series.
“It has become clear over the last few days that as a direct response to changing travel restrictions being enforced around the globe that swift action was required.
“ALMEM would like to thank all the teams and drivers, technical partners at Michelin and Total, all the various support crews and everyone at both the Yas Marina Circuit and the Dubai Autodrome for their continued support.”
It will mark the first time that the Asian LMS has held a race at the 3.3-mile Dubai Autodrome, which is famous for holding the Hankook 24H Dubai each January.
A record 38-car season entry, including a 21-car GT3 field, is set to take part in the 2021 season.
2021 Asian Le Mans Series Schedule
Feb. 13 – Dubai Autodrome
Feb. 14 – Dubai Autodrome
Feb. 19 – Yas Marina Circuit
Feb. 20 – Yas Marina Circuit