The European Le Mans Series will return to Austria next year following confirmation of a race at the Red Bull Ring on the provisional six-round schedule for the 2021 season.
Announced on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s 4 Hours of Monza, the updated ELMS calendar features half a dozen four-hour races with the season starting at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in April and ending at Portimao in October.
The Red Bull Ring is set to host round two on May 15-16, for what will mark the series’ first visit to Austria in three years.
The circuit joined the ELMS bill for the 2013 season and hosted the championship consecutively through to 2018 before being replaced by Barcelona.
Next year the returning Red Bull Ring will effectively replace Silverstone, coinciding with the British track’s omission from the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship schedule.
Barcelona has become the new ELMS season-opener with a race on April 17-18, while an official pre-season test will be held at the track in the days beforehand.
After round two at the Red Bull Ring in May, the series is set to visit Monza on Jul. 10-11, which is one week after the planned six-hour WEC round at the Italian circuit.
The 4 Hours of Le Castellet, which has served as the season-opener for the past three years, will transition to a new late August date for round four.
Spa-Francorchamps is then due to host round five in September, while the campaign is set to draw to a close at Portimao on Oct. 23-24.
All events will run over two days, marking a departure from the current three-day format.
“After a difficult 2020 season due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are pleased to announce a calendar with six different venues across Europe,” said series CEO Gerard Neveu.
“The high quality of the teams on the ELMS grid deserves all our attention and efforts to guarantee a premium-level championship.
“This new calendar will, once again, provide the very best stage for the teams and drivers who have chosen to race in our championship.
“In 2021, the European Le Mans Series events will continue to offer three different championships with the European Le Mans Series, the Michelin Le Mans Cup and the Ligier European Series, providing for the best a clear path up the endurance racing career ladder, to the FIA WEC and, ultimately, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
2021 Provisional ELMS Calendar
Apr. 12-13 – Official Test (Barcelona)
Apr. 17-18 – 4H Barcelona
May. 15-16 – 4H Red Bull Ring
Jul. 10-11 – 4H Monza
Aug. 28-29 – 4H Le Castellet
Sep. 18-19 – 4H Spa-Francorchamps
Oct. 23-24 – 4H Portimao