The American Le Mans Series announced a provisional list of its 2011 schedule of races Sunday at Road America. The 10-race slate currently features just one street circuit and seven permanent road courses, but is bolstered by two "TBA" dates at new, "high-profile venues" which the series says it expects to confirm shortly. Perhaps not coincidentally, one of the TBA dates is Labor Day weekend, which is the newly rescheduled date for the new Baltimore Grand Prix street race for the IZOD IndyCar Series. Some returning events have also been repositioned on the calendar.
“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 ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton (above left). “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.”
The Mosport round moves a month earlier, to the end of July, while the six-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca moves back to autumn – Sept. 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.”
As was the case in 2010, next year's schedule will open and close with the series' two biggest events – the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the 14th annual Petit Le Mans from Road Atlanta. Both events are North America rounds of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, the new global endurance championship from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), the organizing body for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
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)