BRASELTON, Ga. (March 7, 2003) -- Due to numerous issues that have caused cancellations by both event promoters, American Le Mans Series events that were to be run in 2003 in Mexico City and Washington, D.C., will not be held, series officials have announced.
The sports car endurance racing series was to have held a new event on April 5 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, and June 29 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., in a return engagement of a successful event held in 2002. Series officials indicated that they are actively seeking replacement events to be held in 2003.
"It is with deep regret that we have been forced to make this announcement," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. "It is profoundly unfortunate that both these events have been simultaneously cancelled, but a variety of circumstances will prevent each event organizer from holding their races this year.
"The removal of these two events from our schedule has immediate impact on our fans, race teams, sponsors, suppliers, manufacturers and media who have made plans to be at these races, and right now that is our primary concern," he said.
Atherton said that despite every effort to resolve the complex issues, the organizer of the Mexico City event, Grupo Automovilistico Nacional y Deportivo (GRAND), has informed IMSA and the American Le Mans Series that it will not conduct what was to have been a six-hour race in 2003. Atherton said he could not elaborate on the circumstances of the default, but did confirm that every effort was being made to secure future events with GRAND in Mexico.
The event at RFK Stadium is promoted by National Grand Prix Holdings, LLC. "For this year, the race has become a victim of operational problems on behalf of the event organizer," said Atherton.
"Having worked closely with the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission for the past several months, I can honestly say that there is an unwavering commitment by all involved to retain this event and we will do everything in our collective power to see that this race returns to our schedule in the near future," said Atherton.
Legal considerations surrounding the Washington, D.C., event prevented Atherton from providing more details.
The American Le Mans Series begins its fifth season with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Mar. 12-15, and Atherton said that "the overall strength of the series will help to overcome the very disappointing loss of two of our events for 2003.
"We have an incredible field of over 60 world-class sports cars set to compete at Sebring, and we expect a great event to open the season," said Atherton. "We are focused on Sebring, but are also very aggressively conducting the business of filling the void we suddenly have on our season schedule.
"In addition, we remain fully committed to our long-term plan of establishing a schedule that concentrates on date stability and successful events at the key sports car racing venues in North America," he said. "This will not deter us from steering the course we have charted for the American Le Mans Series."