Saturday 5 September 2015

ELMS unveils 2016 schedule : bigger and better !

Today at Paul Ricard, the 2016 ELMS schedule and the expansion of the series was announced during a press conference with Gérard Neveu, ELMS CEO and Pierre Fillion, President of the ACO.

The European Le Mans Series will expand to a six race calendar in 2016 with the addition of the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in September.  2016 will start as usual with the prologue, the official 2 day pre-season test on March 29-30.  The first race of the season will be at Silverstone on Saturday 16 April, sharing the weekend with the WEC.  After that it's off to Italy and Imola on May 15, and the Red Bull Ring in Austria on July 17.  The race at Paul Ricard is being rescheduled to the end of August (28th), on September 25th the ELMS will return to the mythical Spa-Francorchamps for the first time since 2011.  The season finale will be run at Estoril in Portugal in October 23rd.

European Le Mans Series Provisional 2016 Calendar

Prologue 29/30 March - TBA
Round 1 15/16 April - Silverstone (UK)
Round 2 13/15 May - Imola (IT)
Round 3 15-17 July - Red Bull Ring (AUS)
Round 4 26-28 August - Paul Ricard (FRA)
Round 5 23-25 September - Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)*
Round 6 21-23 October - Estoril (POR)
(* TBC)

Next year the ELMS will be joined for the majority of the 6 events by 2 support series : the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and the RS01 Renault Sport Trophy, giving the fans a regular support race package to enjoy throughout the season.  Both series will run at the Red Bull Ring, Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps and Estoril, the RS01 Sport Trophy will also be in Imola.  With the addition of both a single seater and a GT series, all kinds of racing will be represented during an ELMS race weekend.  This also brings together drivers from different generation, and might give the youngsters the chance to get up to endurance racing from formula or GT racing.

All raceweekends in 2016 will be spread out on 3 days instead of 2 in the past years.  First free practice session will be run on Friday, second practice and qualifying on Saturday and the 4 hour race on Sunday.  General entry will be free at all races, tickets for paddock acces will be sold at modest prices.

Pierre Fillion, President of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest : "The 2016 calendar represents the next step in the growth of the European Le Mans Series.  The 4 hours of Spa-Francorchamps is an important addition to the ELMS, while the other five races, held on the same tracks at the same time of year, are well established and growing in popularity."

Gérard Neveu, European Le Mans Series CEO : "We are very happy to welcome the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and RS01 Renault Sport Trophy and our thanks go to Renault Sport Technologies for their full support.  The addition of these two high profile single seater and GT race series will enhance the popularity of the ELMS weekends and give the fans two more reasons to join us for an exciting 2016 season.

Kristof Vermeulen.