With the exception of NASCAR, the world of auto racing is in a bit of turmoil, especially in Europe. The SRO already announced that the FIA GT1 World and GT3 European Championships were canceled this year, and now we can add yet another European series to this list. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ALO) has just let us know that the European Le Mans Series’ (ELMS) last two races have been canceled.
The ELMS is citing a low number of cars at the starting grid for its cancellation of the final two event. This is not up for debate as a lowly 13 cars were at the starting line for last weekend’s event. Even at the debut event for 2012 only 21 cars in total arrived at the starting grid.
The combination of a competitive GT series in Europe and the global economic crisis are mostly to blame for the lack of entrants. All of the car owners are going to the races where there is the best money to be made, regardless of the event’s prestige.
There is a silver lining to this announcement, as a deal was struck for the remaining 14 teams in the ELMS to join forces with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and run in the 1,000-mile/10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance race held at Road Atlanta. Given all of the European teams show up, this will increase the field at this race to 54 competitors, so things could get a little hairy at times.
The ELMS will give its drivers double points at this race, which will help compensate for the two canceled races.
We are hoping that this all gets settled down, as the ELMS has always been good for exciting races – more so than NASCAR , at least. We could even see a full season of the ELMS and ALMS teaming up, which may be a good idea for both series until this economic recession finishes its course.