Ligier European Series: Calendar and innovations for the 2021 season
October 29, 2020 – Following a successful inaugural season despite a very particular context, the Ligier European Series, which is a mix of GT and sport-prototypes, announces its 2021 calendar. Next year there will not be five but six events on the finest circuits across Europe, during the same weekends as the European Le Mans Series. And there will be some new features on the sporting front. Bronze and Silver drivers, or Bronze-Bronze, Silver-Silver or Silver-Bronze crews will be eligible to compete in the championship. All with the same goal: to have fun and begin their adventure or career in endurance racing. Season two promises to be even more exciting than the first!
In year one, the Ligier European Series had to face a very delicate health and economic situation. Yet, it was an exceptional first year, during which the series did not disappoint and attracted a field of nearly 15 Ligier JS2 R and Ligier JS P4s, the brand's two cars showcased in this series organised by the European Le Mans Series. In the run up to the 2020 season finale at the undulating Portimão circuit, the Ligier European Series reveals the 2021 calendar and innovations.
A stout 2021 calendar with 6 Heats
In 2021, the Ligier European Series will head to six circuits, one more than in 2020. And they are among the best in all of Europe: Barcelona, Red Bull Ring, Monza, Circuit Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps and Portimão, which is great news for all enthusiasts.
The season will kick-off in Barcelona on April 16 and 17, 2021, which will be a first for the Ligier European Series after the cancellation of the Spanish round in 2020 due to the health crisis. The Red Bull Ring in Austria will host Heat 2 on May 14 and 15. The series will then head to the “Temple of Speed”, Monza in Italy on July 9 and 10. Following the summer hiatus, the season will resume in the South of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on August 27 and 28. On the weekend of September 17 and 18 the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium will be the venue for the penultimate round of the year. And lastly, the rollercoaster Portimão circuit in Portugal will be the ideal setting for the season-finale on October 22 and 23.
The race format will remain the same with 3 hours and 40 minutes of track time over two days with a one-hour free-practice session, two 20-minute qualifying sessions to determine the starting grid for each race, and two one-hour races. Slight modification: for greater efficiency, the two qualifying sessions will be combined with a 10-minute break between each session.
The Ligier European Series' calendar is subject to change according to the developments of the current health crisis.
Silver-Silver line-ups accepted
In addition to the Silver and Bronze drivers, and Bronze-Silver and Bronze-Bronze crews, Silver-Silver duos will be eligible in 2021. This will create a larger diversity of crews while preserving the sporting aspect with the introduction of a time penalty for Silver drivers and Silver-Silver crews.
The drivers and crews of each category will compete for the Ligier JS2 R Title and Ligier JS P4 Title. And the best Bronze driver and the best Silver driver in each category will be recognised and rewarded.
A new-look paddock
With an average of 15 Ligiers in its maiden season, the Ligier European Series will have a new-look paddock for 2021.
An area reserved for drivers and teams will be set up in the centre of the series' paddock that will be an ideal meeting point for teams to share their enthusiasm for motor sport.
The Ligier technical support (chassis, electronics, engine) and the spare parts store already on site at each round in 2020 will be set up alongside the teams.
As in 2020, the entered drivers and teams will receive a welcome pack from Ligier, high-quality content made available for their promotion, support from Michelin for the tyres and Stand 21 for driver equipment.
New promotional means and prize packages will be introduced to make 2021 an unforgettable season.
Jacques Nicolet, President of Ligier Automotive :
“It was a very particular first season given the health and economic situation. With nearly 15 cars on average, it was a promising debut. This year has allowed us and the ELMS teams to draw lessons in order to adapt and respond as well as possible to the expectations of the drivers and teams. We are going to do everything we can to make 2021 a complete success. Naturally, we are delighted with our collaboration with the ELMS teams! We are very proud to have succeeded with them, our teams and their drivers, to place the Ligier European Series in the endurance landscape.”
Gérard Neveu, CEO of European Le Mans Series:
“This first season of the Ligier European Series met all our expectations. It also let us learn the lessons of a first experience for this all-new series and to propose from 2021 an even more attractive Ligier championship. The Ligier European Series is the first step in the ascent to the summits of Endurance racing. A step high enough to satisfy the expectations of our competitors but still accessible enough to welcome newcomers. See you in 2021!”