Mark your calendars if you are a sports car fan as the dates for the 2005 most prestigious and challenging endurance event have been moved down one weekend on the June calendar. The Automobile Club de l'Ouest list new dates for the 2005 24 Heures du Mans and the preliminary practice.
June 5, 2005 is listed as the date set aside for preliminary practice, an event traditionally held in the Spring.
Speculation leads to the fact that both the new Le Mans Endurance Series, which just wrapped up its inaugural season and/or the American Le Mans Series would like to have April and May free to schedule a race.
Speculation can further lead one to the fact that the ACO's main event will not run against a Formula One race, allowing drivers to hitch rides at Le Mans.
Presently, the ALMS' season opener - the Sebring 12 Hours - held in mid-March is the only event on the calendar until the end of June, leaving the teams idle for over three months. Of course the ALMS teams who compete at the 24 Heures du Mans area quite busy in June as they travel to France.
LMES held one event prior to the Le Mans in early May following the end of April preliminaries, which many used as a test for the season opener in Monza. The second race was early July following Le Mans.
The main event for sports car racing has also been moved, one week down on the calendar, two weeks after the preliminary test. This would make sense and allow the teams to remain in the area for the first three weeks of June.
The new date for the 24 Heures du Mans will be June 18-19 for the actual race. Scrutineering would be held during the early week days leading up to practice and qualifying on Wednesday and Thursday.