Comprehensive racing weekends; Shorter and more spectacular races; A mouth-watering calendar; A new category and new organizers.
The 2013 European Le Mans Series: more entertainment, more races and more teams. The list of 29 entries for the European Le Mans Series has been unveiled but, before talking more about the teams, drivers or the series itself, it’s important to bring to the fore some new areas which will change the look of endurance racing in Europe.
Comprehensive racing weekends
The main reason for this collaboration between series is the intention to make the ELMS a major festival, with entertainment and free access to the paddock just as in the ALMS (American Le Mans Series) or FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship).
Shorter and more spectacular races
For the past nine years European endurance races have run for 6 hours or for a distance of 1,000 kilometres. The 2013 season’s European Le Mans Series events have seen their format reduced to 3 hours. Without doubt, this modification will add to on-track action and excitement.
A mouth-watering calendar
The calendar for the season will be made up of five rounds, on five prestigious circuits in five European countries: Silverstone in England (12/13 April), Imola in Italy (17/18 May), Red Bull Ring in Austria (19/20 July), Hungaroring in Hungary (13/14 September) and Paul Ricard in France (27/28 September).
A new category
In terms of technical regulations, there has been little or no significant change in the LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) LMPC (Formula Le Mans), and LMGTE (Grand Touring Endurance) classes. The GTC (Grand Touring Challenge) category will be open to GT3 cars.
The technical regulations for GTC are of strategic interest for continental series such as the European Le Mans Series, which act as a launch pad for competitors wishing to move towards international endurance racing.
Therefore, in order to offer teams entered in other "Grand Touring" championships the opportunity to recoup their investments and defray operational costs by entering complementary events, the ACO has decided to expand the eligibility of the European Le Mans Series GTC class to GT3 cars. As of 2013, only cars homologated by the FIA GT3 are eligible.
Following on from an announcement by the ACO in August last year, the organisation of the European Le Mans Series will in the future be managed by LMEM (Le Mans Endurance Management) under the direction of Gérard Neveu who, since last year, has also been Chief Executive of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
European Le Mans Series