Friday 23 September 2016

European Le Mans Series: Monza and Portimão on the 2017 calendar

Pierre Fillion, president of the ACO and Gerard Neveu, CEO of the ELMS have presented the provisional calender for 2017 during a press conference at Spa-Francorchamps this afternoon.

The announcement of the 2017 European Le Mans Series calendar reveals consistency and the continued promise of plenty of exciting and enjoyable racing for competitors and fans. The four-hour races in Great Britain, Italy, Austria, France, Belgium and Portugal, so popular with ELMS teams and drivers, all still figure on the calendar. However, two new venues have been announced today !

The ELMS official two-day pre-season test in March, and the second round of the championship in May will, in 2017, be held at the temple of Italian motorsport, Monza. The addition of the high-speed circuit to the calendar will be a welcome addition for teams as part of their preparations for the jewel in the crown of endurance racing, the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. The 2017 ELMS season will once again conclude in October in Portugal at the Algarve-located Portimão circuit. 

The LMP2 class will in 2017 continue in the Pro-Am formula, requiring at least one Bronze or Silver rated driver in the driver line-ups. The LMP2 class will consist of 2 separate "classes" next season. First of all the new for 2017 LMP2 cars and second the "grandfathered" cars which are running the championship this year. Both LMP2 classes will have their own championship and podiums at every race.  

The maximum amount of cars on the grid will be limited to 40 cars as from 2017. This will be done to give the teams a certain amount of comfort in the garages & pitlane and also to keep everything manageable. However, if there's a possibility on a track to host more cars (like Spa this weekend), that still might be the case. The maximum amount of cars who will be invited to take part in the full season will be limited to 40 though. 

The raceweekends themselves will have the same schedule as this season, with the continuing support of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, the Renault Sport Trophy and the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup.

Pierre Fillon, President of Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “The 2017 calendar offers competitors and fans the very best opportunity to be part of what has rapidly become Europe’s leading endurance series. The stability of maintaining six rounds, with races of four-hours in length, at well-established and prestigious tracks, can only increase the popularity of these events.”

Gérard Neveu, European Le Mans Series CEO: “Among the many well-known European motorsport venues, there are some which speak for themselves through their tradition and history. As well as Silverstone and Spa we now have Monza which has a long history in endurance racing. We very much look forward to going there in 2017, just as we also look forward to creating new traditions and history at more modern venues such as Portimão in the sunny Algarve area where we will close the season.”

More details about the sporting regulations will be revealed at the race in Estoril next month.

Provisional ELMS 2017 Calendar

28/29 March         ELMS official test at Monza    (Italy)

15 April                4 Hours of Silverstone (UK)

14 May                 4 Hours of Monza (Italy)

23 July                  4 Hours of Red Bull Ring (Austria)

27 August             4 Hours of Le Castellet (France)

24 September        4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)

22 October            4 Hours of Portimão (Portugal)

Kristof Vermeulen.