The European Le Mans Series and the Michelin Le Mans Cup have announced their racing schedules for the 2024 season.
Five of the six weekends are returnees, while none of the classes have previously participated at the sixth round.
The season starts out with three days of Prologue at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain, just like in 2023.
Paul Ricard near Le Castellet in the south of France is run three weeks later, prior to the Le Mans break. Or maybe we should put break in inverted commas. A lot of the teams from ELMS are expected to be on the grid, at least in the case of LMP2 teams. In addition to that, one of the support races for the big 24 hours race is Michelin Le Mans Cup, running their two-race round.
ELMS returns to the track in early July at Imola in Italy, while the LMC get a longer summer holiday.
Both classes are present at Spa Francorchamps, which has been moved from the end of September to the end of August. That will hopefully give some warmer weather, and less rain. But you’ll never know with Spa…
Mugello will make its debut on the final week of September. The Italian circuit is mostly known for it’s MotoGP round, but Formula 1 has been there, as have Creventic on a more regular basis. But this is a brand new round for both ELMS and LMC, and it’s actually a track that isn’t used that much for sportscar testing. But that will probably change over the coming months, with today’s announcement.
The season finishes off in October at the well known Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal near Portimao. The track has hosted the season finale since 2017. It’s actually a double round in 2023, with the cancellation of the Imola round, due to their paddock renovation work running at bit after initial plans.
The is no space for Motorland Aragon, which made it’s debut in 2023. LMEM, who runs ELMS and LMC for the ACO, kept their ears and eyes open for evaluating the track, and if the teams were interested in returning. A lot of teams has used it as a test track, due to the mild climate – which was actually too hot this year, with temperatures above 44 degrees Celcius in the days leading up to the race weekend itself. There was a few technical glitches here and there in regards to running the race, and the infrastructure at and around the circuit – and then it’s just located far away from everywhere. Alcaniz is about 250 kilometers from Barcelona, and the selection of hotels in the area is very limited. With a lot of teams based in France or other central-European countries, it’s just a long drive, especially when you have Portimao, about 1000 kilometers south of Barcelona, on the schedule too.
All the ELMS rounds will be 4 hours long, while the race distance on the LMC rounds are not yet publicised – but they are currently 1 hour and 50 minutes.
The two race schedules looks like this: