2017 WEC Schedule Released

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

The FIA World Endurance Championship will return with a nearly identical schedule, with all nine race venues having been retained, but with a switch to Monza for the Prologue, following the release of the 2017 provisional calendar on Thursday.

The famed Italian circuit will host the championship’s official pre-season test on March 24-25, replacing Paul Ricard, which had been the venue for the past three years.

It is the only change to the schedule, other than the previously announced date shift for the Nürburgring, which has been moved up one week to accommodate the German Grand Prix, and results in a clash with the Formula E race in Montreal.

As expected, Circuit of The Americas returns for a fifth year, but is understood an agreement with the track was reached just last weekend and is only a one-year deal.

The COTA round will be a standalone event, as IMSA moves its race to early May. Pirelli World Challenge, meanwhile, will have it race at the Texas circuit two weeks prior.

“The opportunity to start our season at Monza is one we are sure will please competitors, fans and media alike,” said WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.

“We hope that our calendar not only meets the expectations and requirements of all our partners and competitors, and makes economic and logistical sense, but also that it fits in with the increasing number of events that each venue hosts.”

Added ACO President Pierre Fillon: “We are very pleased to have maintained this level of stability in the five years of the WEC to date, and our 2017 calendar allows us to continue to build on the tradition of endurance racing around the world.”

The calendar, approved during today’s FIA Endurance Committee meeting in Geneva, will be presented to the World Motor Sport Council next week.

2017 FIA World Endurance Championship Schedule:

March 24-25 — Prologue (Monza)
April 14-16 — Silverstone
May 4-6 — Spa-Francorchamps
June 17-18 — 24 Hours of Le Mans
July 14-16 — Nürburgring
Sept. 1-3 — Mexico City
September 14-16 — Circuit of The Americas
October 13-15 — Fuji Speedway
November 3-5 — Shanghai
November 16-18 — Bahrain

*Subject to approval by World Motor Sport Council

50 Comments

  1. Tim

    September 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    i was hoping Indianapolis would replace COTA. just cus its a 5 hour drive vs a 24hour drive…Road America would be a great spot but that wont happen.

    • N8

      September 22, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      I don’t care for CotA, but I’ll never sit through the misery of any event on the “featureless wonder” ever again. Either direction, 2 wheels or 4, the most interesting thing that ever took place there was seeing 14 cars withdrawn before the race started. Please, just turn the whole thing back into a golf course already!

    • GTurner38

      September 22, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      If WEC leaves COTA, I’d expect it to go to Montreal before it goes to Indy. Indy doesn’t necessarily want a fourth race weekend and the track has been made even more boring since Indycar has been running the road course. That leaves Montreal as the only other Grade 1 circuit in North America and with that city only having one regularly occurring race (which may be in trouble at this point due to conflicts with Bernie) I could see a stronger interest in an event there.

      • Sham_Poser

        September 24, 2016 at 5:58 pm

        Have the long-promised upgrades to the Montreal circuit for F1 began yet?
        I’m not too sure Montreal would attract enough of a crowd to keep a WEC race going. It was already tried and disappeared after a single attempt in 1990. Only an extremely small niche of people here in Canada would have any idea what you are talking about if you mention the phrase “sports car racing”. Any racing that’s not F1 or Nascar doesn’t exist as far as others know. Even Le Mans is completely ignored by mainstream sports TV channels and media. It would require a huge amonunt of promotion to get any attention at all.
        The Nascar Nationwide (now Xfinity) races in Montreal drew good crowds estimated at 60,000 but still lost money and went away, and I doubt a WEC race crowd would be that large.

    • someone

      September 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Indy is not happening ever per some very credible sources. If you do not support the WEC in COTA they also said that WEC will leave the USA within the next few years.

  2. @oxia_hk

    September 22, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    🙁 as expected, no real surprise unfortunately, too bad for da Paul ricard loss (living near dis track its a big & bad surprise for me :/)

    i hope dat one day wec calendar will look like this:

    Prologue HTTT PR !!!
    Silverstone
    Spa-Francorchamps
    24 Hours of Le Mans
    Nürburgring
    Sebring or petit le mans
    Suzuka
    Bahrain

    dont like COTA & Mexico tracks, suzuka is much much better than Fuji

    crossed figers ^^

    • Tarek R.

      September 22, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Suzuka? Why should FIA WEC leave the Fuji Speedway which is owned by Toyota to move a track owned by Honda ?

      • GTurner38

        September 22, 2016 at 6:57 pm

        Because Suzuka is a better track. Fuji is a good circuit, but Suzuka is one of the greats.

        • @oxia_hk

          September 23, 2016 at 9:51 am

          excatly GTurner38… ^^ Fuji is soporiphic :p

  3. Matt

    September 22, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Replace COTA, Shanghai, and Bahrain and they’ll have a real schedule…. Those tracks are awful

    • Christian

      September 22, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      RT

      Suzuka, Montreal, Yas Marina and/or Barcelona would be great.

      • Morningview66

        September 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm

        I don’t think they need to go to Bahrain but I tell you, for racing it’s far better than legoland Yas Marina. That has to be one of the worst tracks in motoracing.

  4. Michael Sørensen

    September 22, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Easter is a bad time for a race. Now I will not be going to Silverstone:-(

    • Scott F

      September 22, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Jesus doesn’t care. He’s dead. Just go to the race.

      • Sham_Poser

        September 22, 2016 at 2:14 pm

        — non-religious people can also have things like family gatherings and trips scheduled for long weekends.

        • Not Scott F

          September 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm

          That could happen any week then, couldn’t it?

      • Mo

        September 22, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        Shut up heathen. Stay in your lane.

        • Scott F

          September 22, 2016 at 3:57 pm

          Nice work idiot.

      • 7D3

        September 22, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        Dude, That’s Not Cool!

        • Scott F

          September 22, 2016 at 3:59 pm

          Hey, I’m not wrong.

          • Bakkster

            September 23, 2016 at 7:34 am

            Aren’t you?

            Easter is celebrated specifically because he’s not dead 😉

    • GTurner38

      September 22, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Isn’t Easter a fairly traditional race weekend in Britain?

      • Rob Lomas

        September 23, 2016 at 4:09 am

        Yeah, it is.

    • Richard Reeves

      September 24, 2016 at 7:36 am

      Well you could go on Fri & Sat couldn’t you? And watch the race on the app on Sunday? Easter doesn’t affect me BUT I’m hoping global warming catches up with Silverstone by next April…

  5. N8

    September 22, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    As long as grade 1 circuits are a prerequisite for a WEC event, they’re never going to see the best that America has to offer in terms of attendance and race action. A real shame.

    • Rus'L

      September 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      WEC is allowed to go to a Grade 2 circuit. Le Mans is a Grade 2 circuit… The problem appears to be that the WEC doesn’t want a circuit without the amenities of a Grade 1 circuit like fancy garages and such. Because, you are correct, COTA and Indy just doesn’t do it for the American sportscar fans. Road America or Watkins Glen definitely would!

      • Mando

        September 22, 2016 at 6:46 pm

        I live 3 hours from COTA and I would much rather go to Watkins Glen. That track is special.

      • GTurner38

        September 22, 2016 at 7:01 pm

        When they race at Le Mans they have further reductions in power for the P1 cars. From a safety standard they want to be on Grade 1 tracks, but Le Mans is Le Mans.

  6. Sham_Poser

    September 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Not a very bright choice of date by those behind the Montreal Formula E event. It’s also on the same weekend as the Toronto IndyCar race, meaning Canadian spectators (and perhaps track marshals and others) who may have gone to both will now have to pick one.

  7. 7D3

    September 22, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Monza is doing the Prologue?

    I was hoping that Monza would be one of the rounds of racing.

  8. Greg

    September 22, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    The heat is on. WEC just don’t get it.

  9. kevlow

    September 22, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Interesting that IMSA at COTA is 5/4-6 and that WEC COTA is 9/14-16. I do not think that the WEC is going to stand alone and survive for very long at COTA.

    How long is their contract at COTA for? Are they just planning to fulfil the contract then pull out and relocate?

    Also after seeing Sept in Texas is too hot for the cars and the fans, IMSA had no problem bailing out and stranding the FIA WEC. This might be indicative of their relationship after their disagreement on LMP2/DPI.

    I am glad IMSA moved their date, it will be much better earlier in the year. I would love to see the WEC at Sebring or Watkins Glen.

    • Olly

      September 22, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Or Petit.

      • Elmo

        September 27, 2016 at 1:04 pm

        Actually September in Texas can be nice. Mid 70s today.

    • Andy Flinn

      September 22, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Spare me, kevlow.

      IMSA didn’t “strand” the WEC anywhere. After racing with IMSA at Sebring in 2012, it was the WEC – not IMSA – who not only insisted on a different venue but also an entirely separate race.

      If the people who run the WEC weren’t such incredible prima donnas they might still be racing with IMSA at Sebring.

      I applaud IMSA’s decision to split from the WEC and schedule their own race weekend at CoTA.

      If the WEC really is the “premiere” endurance sports car racing series (they’re sure trying hard to emulate at least the attitude of F1), then they shouldn’t have any trouble promoting their own race at CoTA on their own – for once.

      • Bakkster

        September 23, 2016 at 7:36 am

        No, I think everyone recognized the joint race was a terrible idea. Especially for two series of that magnitude.

        • Andy Flinn

          September 23, 2016 at 11:42 am

          Bakkster, I have to disagree.

          The WEC chose CoTA primarily to establish their own separate identity in North America. If the ACO had shown a willingness to compromise and work with the ALMS – instead of trying to run the show – Sebring could still be a viable race for both series. After all, IMSA teams, and before them teams from the ALMS, PSCR, and the original IMSA, have been racing at Le Mans and abiding by ACO management (even the silly or capricious ones) for decades.

          The inability of both series to compete together at Sebring was an ACO/WEC failure.

          We’ll see how long the WEC round at CoTA lasts without support from IMSA.

          • GR88

            September 23, 2016 at 1:18 pm

            The joint Sebring round was a disaster on every level imaginable. And that was back in 2012,today it would be impossible to accommodate the infrastructure, personell, corporate sector and more.

            Anyhow, COTA is only a one year deal. So probably off to Montreal in 2018.

      • kevlow

        September 23, 2016 at 3:28 pm

        I too, applaud IMSA’s decision to split from the WEC and schedule their own race weekend at CoTA. Changing the date to a cooler time of the year was the correct business decision to make.
        I attended the 2015 race and it was brutal on fans and teams. The Conti was held in the heat of the day. Motors were blown, brakes failed, and ECUs shut down cars into limp mode.

        Maybe “strand” was not good wording. I do not think that the WEC will draw a big enough crowd to stand on it’s own. I also think that the rift between IMSA and FIA/ACO may be bigger then being admitted to. Clearly IMSA acted in their own best interest, which is good.

        As a long time IMSA fan and sportscar fan in general, I want to see the series and sport grow. The move to May will do that.

        I don’t think IMSA needs to carry or appease FIA/ACO. If they build a good series in the Americas then the FIA/ACO will have no choice but to accept and respect them. Already Onroak and Oreca[i think] have announced opening U.S. bases of operation.

        I think the WEC needs to choose wisely where and when to schedule their North American dates. In 2017, both Blancpain and Hankook 24H Series are making inroads into North American. When the WEC may struggle in the U.S.to support it’s event, other companies and series are finding it an attractive market.

        It was excellent to see the WEC cars, teams, and race. I want to see both series prosper. Most important to me is to see a strong, well run IMSA. That would only help the ACO/FIA in the long run. I hope I am wrong but I do not think that the WEC,COTA,Sept, stand alone race, is a good combination

        • Andy Flinn

          September 23, 2016 at 11:03 pm

          Kevlow, I agree with most of what you have to say here. You make a good argument.

  10. Brett Harrington

    September 23, 2016 at 12:21 am

    This schedule is great. Long live LMP1, and IMSA should burn in hell for not following along with what’s right.

    I miss my wife and I’m crying.

  11. Pete Braun

    September 23, 2016 at 4:49 am

    Very disappointed that there won’t be a doubleheader for Lone Star Le Mans. That was what made the race weekend so great. Hopefully this glaring error will be rectified for 2018.

  12. Steven

    September 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    WEC in the US belongs at either Road America, Road Atlanta, or Watkins Glen. The crowds would be huge for any of those tracks. I’d travel again to see the cars and racing again but will not touch CotA with a 100 foot poll.

    Petit Le Mans had over 100K people in 2011. There is a big group of fans of love the racing here in the States, you just have to give the fans the right track to enjoy the event.

    • Andy Flinn

      September 23, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Steven, the WEC won’t (notice I didn’t say “can’t”) race at classic tracks In North America, like Road America, Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen, because they all lack the fancy F1-style pit and permanent paddock garage structures. Nevermind that Audi raced at Sebring (with no F1-style permanent pit/garage paddock facilities) for almost 15 years.

      No, the classic tracks in North America won’t do because they don’t fit into the WEC’s desire to emulate F1 – even down to the boring Tilkedromes – whenever possible.

      The ACO and the WEC don’t get it. CoTA was supposed to be their solution.

      Oh well. I can’t wait to be camping trackside at Road Atlanta for the Petit in one week’s time.

  13. Greg

    September 23, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    I am very sad for the split. I loved the weekend with great racing. The track is bad but the thought was build a track within 3 hours of 10 million people how can it fail. Corporate America at its finest. The track has no soul.

    • Andy Flinn

      September 23, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Greg, the CoTA track was designed for Bernie.

  14. Philip Brantley

    September 23, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    I think the COTA circuit is fantastic. I went to the WEC in ’14 and ’15 and loved it both times. The heat is definitely a problem as is the management but maybe they’ll learn. With all the racing politics here…the options are limited.

  15. greg

    September 23, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Andy, correct but he will drop cota as quickly as 3rd period french. What a shame, the opertunity to build a great venue wasted because of the lack of passion and overall concern for the fans. When the walmart supercenter is errected at turn 15 I will be so sad.

  16. NaBUru38

    September 26, 2016 at 10:02 am

    With no IMSA races, the 6 Hours of Austin will have minuscule crowds.

  17. av

    September 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I think Sebring is the classic endurance race in america. I understand that the pit lane is not f1 level, but that is were the WEC should be running in america. I think Sebring is like le mans, or Bathurst or the nurburgring. It is a totally iconic track with the history to back it up. I think it would be worth it for the aco to make the compromise and run at sebring. The weather would be good at sebring in the fall.

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