The 2017 European Le Mans Series calendar brings an element of consistency to the endurance series, despite a couple of changes of venue amongst the six-round schedule.
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, but the series will visit two new venues within those countries as the Italian round switches to Monza from Imola, and Portugal from Estoril to Portimão to close the campaign.
“The 2017 calendar offers competitors and fans the very best opportunity to be part of what has rapidly become Europe's leading endurance series,” Pierre Fillon, president of Automobile Club de l'Ouest, claimed, “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.”
The series' official two-day pre-season test in March will also be held at Monza, which hosts the second round of the championship in May, and 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.
“Among the many well-known European motorsport venues, there are some which speak for themselves through their tradition and history,” Gérard Neveu, European Le Mans Series CEO, noted, “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, where we will close the season.”
The provisional 2017 ELMS calendar is as follows:
28-29 March ELMS official test
15 April 4 Hours of Silverstone
14 May 4 Hours of Monza
23 July 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring
27 August 4 Hours of Le Castellet
24 September 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
22 October 4 Hours of Portimão