Connect with us

FIA WEC

2019-20 WEC Schedule Taking Shape

First WEC winter season to feature between 7-9 rounds, kick off in September 2019…

Photo: MPS Agency

The FIA World Endurance Championship’s first full ‘winter’ schedule has begun taking shape, with up to nine rounds possible for the 2019-20 season, according to series boss Gerard Neveu.

The WEC, which is set to kick off its 14-month ‘Super Season’ next month encompasses two editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will transition into a more traditional winter calendar in the second half of 2019.

So far, Le Mans, which will serve as the season finale, and the recently announced return to Interlagos have been confirmed rounds for 2019-20, with Neveu indicating plans for Sebring to again be on the calendar in March 2020.

Spa-Francorchamps, a staple on the WEC calendar since its launch, is also expected to continue, along with a return to Fuji Speedway, which has a long-term contract with the championship, and a likely continuation of Shanghai.

Despite not featuring on the upcoming 2018-19 season, Bahrain could return to the calendar, with discussions underway with other new and existing venues, according to Neveu, who is targeting to release a provisional calendar this summer.

“Going back to a regular season of seven, eight, nine races is the plan,” he said.

“We will have a race once every month, more or less, and we will have a quiet period around Daytona because we have to respect this period [with] IMSA, which makes sense.”

A firm date for Interlagos, which hosted the WEC in September 2012-13 and served as the season finale in November 2014, has yet to be finalized, with Neveu admitting they have “many options” for the Brazilian date.

It’s believed the race could take place in February 2020, as part of a North/South America swing.

Neveu said they’ve yet to exactly establish when the season will begin, although it’s likely to be sometime in September 2019.

“Very frankly, there is no decision at this moment,” he said. “We have already engaged in some discussions but it is too early.”

Confirmation of the 2019-20 schedule is expected to come sometime this summer.

“If we could do it one year in advance [of the start] that would be perfect,” Neveu said. “It means around Le Mans/Silverstone time somewhere in the summer. That is clearly the target.”

Formula 1, Formula E Clash Avoidance Takes Priority

Avoiding date clashes with Formula 1 and Formula E races, the FIA’s two other major circuit-based championships, remains the top priority according to Neveu.

He said that European Le Mans Series events, which are run by LMEM, the same organization as the WEC, as well as major IMSA endurance races, are next in importance, although admitted it would be “mathematically impossible” to avoid clashes with all IMSA races.

“When we can avoid a clash, we avoid it,” Neveu said. “But when we can’t, it’s impossible.

“The thing you have to understand is that there is absolutely no interest for us to clash with a major sports car event.

“It is easy to understand that if we are not running on the same weekend as Formula 1, we get more exposure, so if we can do it then we do it.

“What we are trying to do it to protect the interests of the ACO and the FIA.

“After that, we pay attention to IMSA and other partners around the world. It’s very challenging.”

Different Race Formats an Option 

Neveu said they remain open to varying race lengths but believes the minimum duration has to remain at six hours in order to preserve the endurance formula.

Next year’s Sebring event, originally announced as a 1,500-mile/12-hour race, has since been reduced to 1,000 miles/8 hours due to the compact time schedule on Friday.

“Sebring is very special,” Neveu said. “It has to be a special place to do more than six hours.

“Ideally it would have been 12 hours, [but was] difficult to do, so that’s the compromise we have to accept.”

The possibility of additional extended races will depend on the overall shape of the calendar, he said.

“You have to consider first of all the financial aspect, so you have to be careful,” Neveu admitted. “It depends on the number of races you have on the full calendar and you will estimate what is the best way to do it.”

Neveu said that GTE qualifying races, which had been under evaluation, is “no longer a priority.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Kyle

    April 11, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Le Mans not clashing with F1 is an obvious one. But besides Alonso, who in F1 is going to run WEC? It’s just bizarre to me that takes precedence over avoiding IMSA clashes – considering there are, ya know, actual sports car regulars who run both series or would like to.

    • Max

      April 11, 2018 at 10:11 am

      I think it’s more about TV viewership and spectator ship. It’s like if stick and ball sports ran their championship games on the same day. The Super Bowl is going to get more viewers than the World Series and the latter will lose viewers to the former.

      • Haskellb

        April 11, 2018 at 3:09 pm

        Yeah but Alonso wasn’t a blip on the radar ratings wise at Daytona. I think that is more about keeping Toyota happy since they were threatening just to run Le Mans and Japan this year.

  2. Coach Ep

    April 11, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Silverstone, mid/late Sept.
    Fuji, early/mid Oct.
    Shanghai, late Oct./early Nov.
    Bahrain, late Nov./early Dec.
    Interlagos, early/mid Feb.
    Sebring, mid March
    Spa, early May
    Le Mans, June

  3. Anonymous

    April 11, 2018 at 10:02 am

    What about a return to South Africa for a winter series? No seriously! Kyalami has been refurbished, looks stunning and is FIA Grade 2, meaning LMP1 could race there!

    • Coach Ep

      April 11, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Bring it on!

    • [BLANK]

      April 11, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      I think that the LMP1 cars may be too fast for that circuit. The LMP1’s would be on the back of the gt field in a matter of a few laps and that adds a level of danger that is unnecessary. That’s one of the reasons LMP1’s don’t race in IMSA anymore. They got to fast and the tracks couldn’t handle them. The were actually tearing apart some of the tracks. Kyalami looks awesome and I would love to visit some time, but I don’t think it would do well as a WEC venue.

      • Davy

        April 12, 2018 at 12:46 am

        “Those” LMP1s are history now though. The “new” P1s look to be barely a few seconds faster than the P2s at most events.

    • Parker

      April 12, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      It would be awesome if Cape Town got a FIA Grade 1 or 2 circuit. Great location and CET time zone.

  4. Cactus Tony

    April 11, 2018 at 11:14 am

    “We will have a race once every month, more or less, and we will have a quiet period around Daytona because we have to respect this period [with] IMSA, which makes sense.”

    Translation: we will absolutely schedule a race close to Daytona, probably close enough to make logistics terrible for drivers who wish to race in both and impossible for teams.

    • CookieMonsterFL

      April 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Translation: we will absolutely schedule a race close to Daytona, probably close enough to make logistics terrible for drivers who wish to race in both and impossible for teams.

      Translation: I refuse to take what people say immediately after they say it seriously and honestly, I look to refute any point or conflict even if i’m not correct. Thinking is too hard. What are we talking about again? Oh yeah, DPI TO LE MANS! IGNORANCE!

      • Steven

        April 11, 2018 at 5:08 pm

        After the BoP failure and the ELMS/WEC teams showing a lot of displeasure in IMSA because of that. I don’t see many LMP2 teams coming back to try Daytona.

        • Andy Flinn

          April 11, 2018 at 5:34 pm

          Steven, most of the LMP2s that failed to win or finish at Daytona this year and last year were the victims of electrical, mechanical or other failures. They were not the victims of BoP failure.

          Recently, many of us IMSA fans have observed how the FIA can’t seem to craft schedules where even their OWN series (F1, WEC, FE) don’t suffer from conflicts – unintended or otherwise. So it’s no longer a surprise to some of us when WEC race weekends or testing events continue to conflict with long-established IMSA races (like the 20-year-old Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, for example).

          It seems like the FIA is either incompetent, arrogant or they create these conflicts on purpose.

          Take your pick.

          Seriously, what FIA idiot would schedule an F1 race on the same weekend as Le Mans (unless someone like Bernie from F1 told them to do it on purpose). That seems absurd but it was done just a few years ago.

          Some of us just don’t trust the FIA or WEC to get the schedule right.

  5. Prototype 1

    April 11, 2018 at 11:46 am

    2019-20:

    R1: Silverstone – GBR
    R2: Fuji – JPN
    R3: The Bend Motorsport Park – AUS
    R4: Yas Marina – UAE
    R5: Potrero de los Funes – ARG
    R6: Interlagos – BRA
    R7: Sebring – USA
    R8: Spa – BEL
    R9: Le Mans – FRA

    • Davy

      April 12, 2018 at 12:49 am

      Needs a German and Italian round. You can drop the awful Abu Dhabi circuit to make room.

      • thomas

        April 12, 2018 at 9:31 am

        The Bend is 90 minute from Adelaide, the most tedious city in Australia. Trust me I used to live there. There’s a greater chance of hell freezing over

  6. Boilermaker

    April 12, 2018 at 8:32 am

    All that changes to keep Shanghai and Bahrain… Good, ACO, good.

  7. Rus'L

    April 12, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Speaking of schedules, has anyone seen an announcement for what the American TV broadcast is going to be for this year’s schedule? Spa is only three weeks away…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More in FIA WEC