The American Le Mans Series announced its 2013 schedule Thursday at Petit Le Mans. Included are nine of the same 10 races from this year, with a new round at Austin's Circuit of The Americas (previously announced) added in September and Mid-Ohio a perhaps surprising drop off the calendar.
All dates stay intact for the first seven races of the year. Sebring occurs March 16 followed by Long Beach on April 20, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca May 18, the Le Mans break, then Lime Rock, Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) and Road America in succession. The Road America weekend is one of two doubleheader weekends; it will be the feature race on Sunday, August 11, while Grand-Am's Rolex Series runs on the Saturday.
Baltimore is next, the second of the two weekends with IndyCar, then the final trio. Austin runs Sept. 21, the Saturday while the FIA World Endurance Championship race is Sunday. Virginia International Raceway's second year on the calendar moves back two weeks to Oct. 5, followed by Petit Le Mans, run for the last time with the current class structure under IMSA/ALMS sanction, on Oct. 19.
“Our 2013 schedule reflects many of the traditional, world-class venues that have delivered so many great ALMS races over the years,” ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton said. “We welcome the opportunity to join Grand-Am with what will be a stellar sports car racing weekend at Road America, and we also look forward to visiting the stunning new CoTA track in Texas.”
“With our five-class structure remaining unchanged for next year, we have confirmed that our 2013 season will be a continuation of the success we had in 2012 – with epic race and championship battles among drivers, teams and manufacturers,” he added. “The competition this season has been outstanding in all classes, and it's a safe bet 2013 will bring more of the same.”
Petit marks a conflicting weekend with the WEC's round at Fuji, Japan on Oct. 20. The round in Monterey May 18 will conflict with both the Nurburgring 24 Hours and the Australian V8 Supercars weekend in Austin. Long Beach on April 20 conflicts with Grand-Am's race at Road Atlanta.
With the impending coming-together of Grand-Am and ALMS for 2014, it's expected at least some of the ALMS races beyond Sebring – which has already been confirmed – will make their way onto the 2014 schedule. Both championships raced this year at Mid-Ohio, Road America, Monterey and Lime Rock Park.
Mid-Ohio track president Craig Rust issued a statement regarding its non-inclusion on the 2013 schedule:
"Both ALMS and Mid-Ohio wanted the series back on our schedule in 2013. After we learned the August date wasn't doable, we tried, but were unable to come up with another date that worked for both parties. We're disappointed that ALMS won't run here in 2013, but are looking forward to the drivers and cars returning in 2014 and are already in talks with the unified series' leadership."
Atherton expanded on the reason for Mid-Ohio's non-inclusion.
“Our business plan calls for a maximum of 10 events. This situation, coupled with lack of viable television options with our traditional August Mid-Ohio date, prevented us from returning in 2013. We consider Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to be one of North America's best road racing venues, and we look forward to opportunity to return with the unified series in 2014.”
2013 American Le Mans Series schedule
March 16 Sebring, Fla.
April 20 Long Beach, Calif.
May 18 Monterey, Calif.
July 6 Lime Rock, Conn.
July 21 Mosport, Ontario
Aug. 11 Elkhart Lake, Wis. (with Grand-Am)
Aug. 31 Baltimore, Md.
Sept. 21 Austin, Texas (with WEC)
Oct. 5 Alton, Va.
Oct. 19 Braselton, Ga.