The Asian Le Mans Series will hold its first-ever six-hour race at Buiriam in Thailand, with a new GT-Am subclass and fourth auto-invite for the 24 Hours of Le Mans also in the works for the upcoming 2017/18 season.
Series officials confirmed the venue of the six-hour race on Monday, after initially revealing plans for a lengthened race following its decision to reduce the overall calendar from five to four rounds.
The Buriram round will coincide with Thailand’s National Children’s Day on Sat. Jan 13, which brought more than 100,000 fans to the circuit two years ago.
Also announced is the planned creation of a GT-Am subclass, which the fourth Le Mans auto-invite will be awarded to should there be “sufficient numbers” of entries.
The runner-up finisher in the GT class would be given the invite otherwise, with the GT-Am class champion then receiving a free full-season entry to the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans season.
A final decision on the auto invite allocation will be made prior to the start of the season.
Dates for all four of the 2017/18 races remain unchanged, with the season kicking off at Zhuhai on Oct. 27-29.
“A longer race, and more potential to earn an entry to the biggest endurance race in the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as additional opportunities for gentleman drivers to compete against their peers are all responses to the dialogues we have with the teams,” said Asian Le Mans Managing Director Cyrille Taesch Wahlen.
“The Asian Le Mans Series is moving forward very quickly with the support of the ACO, and of our customers.
“We never stop talking to them, finding out what they need to build their businesses, and to build the motorsport industry in the Asia-Pacific region.”