The European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup have had to cancel their 2 and 4 hours respectively at Imola, which was meant to be run on the first weekend of May 2023.
The cancellation is due to ongoing work in the pits and paddock area not being finished yet, so they won’t be able to host the ELMS and Michelin Le Mans Cup rounds.
The Italian round has been a bit of an issue for ACO and LMEM, who is behind the ELMS and LMC series. The round was meant to be held on the second weekend of May – but with Formula 1 suddenly having to reshuffle their calendar, it also meant that ELMS/LMC had to move their weekend one weekend earlier, so the sportscar trucks would be able to leave, before all the F1 teams would move in with their much bigger setups.
LMEM reveals, that they are working on a solution, in collaboration with Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, but is not yet able to tell what the exact plans are.
It can however cause a lot of problems for ELMS teams, who are going to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. On the original schedule, only Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, and the Imola round in Italy, were the only two races prior to the French classic. So unless LMEM and ACO can make an announcement within days or maybe a week from now, it looks very very unlikely with a replacement, prior to the 24-hour race. All the teams will need a couple of weekends back at base, before rolling into Le Mans from 29 May onwards, with scrutineering starting on 2 June, ahead of the test day on 4 June.
In previous years, some ELMS teams used the 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps in the FIA World Endurance Championship as a warm-up for Le Mans – but that race is run on the weekend after the Barcelona round, so no teams will be able to participate in both races, with the exact same cars.
The European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup start their seasons next week, with three days of testing, prior to the season opener on 22-23 April 2023.