The 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón will go down as a season of remarkable growth and expansion. Already, the 2011 championship is shaping up similarly with the announcement of next year’s schedule. Ten venues are on the docket including a familiar mix of high-profile street circuits and North America’s best permanent road courses.
“The combination of the record number of world-class cars present on our grids and an outstanding level of competition throughout 2010 gives us reason to be very optimistic for 2011,” said Series President and CEO Scott Atherton. “Each year we strive to put together a calendar that features the best road-racing facilities and major market street circuits with events organized by the best promoters in North America. I can say without any hesitation that we have accomplished that goal once again for 2011. And the fact that we are able to release our schedule earlier than ever before is a positive for everyone.”
Several venues on next year’s schedule are familiar; some of their dates may not be. The annual Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport just outside Toronto moves a month earlier to the end of July. And for the second straight year, the Series will race for six hours at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the Monterey Peninsula. That date moves back to autumn – September 17 instead of the middle of May, as was the case in 2010.
“Repositioning dates that have been successful in the past is always a risk,” Atherton said. “But we feel confident that racing at Mosport a month earlier will be a positive for all involved with record-breaking crowds and weather that will make us all thankful. The same can be said for moving our race at Mazda Raceway back to the fall – frankly, where it belongs - for another six-hour Race into Darkness. We had a compelling reason for moving the Mazda Raceway date this year, but it was a mistake. I take the responsibility for that and look forward to returning to Monterey in September.”
In addition, two new, high-profile venues are expected to be confirmed shortly for next season (PRN has heard from multiple sources that Oklahoma City (July) and Baltimore (Sept.) are strong candidates to fill these open slots- Ed.). Announcing its full complement of dates for 2011 at this point is a measure the Series sees as key to assisting its participants in their preparations for next year.
As was the case in 2010, next year’s schedule will open with the American Le Mans Series’ two premier events – the 59th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 19 from Sebring International Raceway and the 14th annual Petit Le Mans from Road Atlanta on Saturday, October 15. Both events are North America rounds of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, a new global endurance championship from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organizing body for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
In between are circuits that have become favorites of competitors and fans alike. The Series returns to historic Long Beach in mid-April for the fifth time before the calendar breaks for the reinstituted Test Day at Le Mans in May and then the 79th running of the world’s greatest motor race June 11-12.
The post-Le Mans run starts Fourth of July weekend at a venue to be determined, followed a week later by an eighth consecutive visit to Lime Rock Park. Immediately after the Mosport round, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón returns to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course then Road America two weeks later. September starts with another event to be announced with a two-week break to the six-hour enduro at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 17.
2011 AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES PRESENTED BY TEQUILA PATRÓN
February 9-10, Sebring International Raceway – Sebring, Fla.
Winter Test (Wednesday-Thursday)
March 19, Sebring International Raceway – Sebring, Fla. (Saturday)
April 16, Long Beach Street Circuit – Long Beach, Calif. (Saturday)
July 3, TBD (Sunday)
July 9, Lime Rock Park – Lakeville, Conn. (Saturday)
July 31, Mosport International Raceway – Bowmanville, Ontario (Sunday)
August 6, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Lexington, Ohio (Saturday)
August 21, Road America – Elkhart Lake, Wis. (Sunday)
September 3, TBA (Saturday)
September 17, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Monterey, Calif. (Saturday)
October 15, Road Atlanta – Braselton, Ga. (Saturday)