The Fifth Event
‘The arrival of a fifth event is an additional illustration of the rising importance of the Le Mans label in a strategic region of the globe on the threshold of Europe and Asia’ – says the LMES statement, in announcing the fifth race at Istanbul (October 16).

‘This opening is an additional encouragement for the manufacturers and suppliers who have chosen to invest in the LMES,’ it continues.

’This additional race can only serve to reinforce the Le Mans label, (which has been) given an even more dynamic image with the announcement of the new organisation of the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Test Day, now on 5th June, just two weeks before the race itself.’

‘Taking into account the promising outlook for the American Le Mans Series made up of 10 events on the American continent, starting with the famous Sebring 12 Hour race on 19th March, the year 2005 looks like being one in which events run under the Le Mans label will continue to assume increasing importance and enjoy even greater renown,’ the statement concludes.

The dilemma for some is that the Istanbul date clashes with the Laguna Seca weekend. The sequence of LMES / ALMS events at the end of the season reads:
September 4 Nurburgring LMES
October 1 PLM ALMS
October 16 Istanbul LMES and Laguna Seca ALMS.

We contacted two team owners for their views on the situation. Neither was terribly keen to be identified.

1. “I don’t think it causes that much of a problem if you’re doing the LMES (in its entirety). You don’t have to do all five LMES races, so you can still do PLM and Laguna Seca. If we focus on the LMES and have a bad run, we could still do Petit and Laguna Seca.”
2. “It’s a shame that it opens up the issue so that you can’t do one of the end of season races.”

There’s an (expensive) option for ambitious teams to take in Petit Le Mans then fly to Istanbul (assuming the car gets through the first event unscathed), but as mentioned above, Laguna Seca would then have to be omitted from a team's programme.

 

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