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Report: New Kuwait Circuit Vying for WEC Race

Report: Kuwait Motor Town in running for WEC race…

Image: Tilke

Kuwait could play host to the FIA World Endurance Championship as early as next year, with the new Hermann Tilke-designed FIA Grade 1 venue reportedly in the running to potentially replace Bahrain on the 2018 calendar.

Kuwait Motor Town, a 3.7-mile circuit located 35 miles south of capital city of Kuwait City, is expected to be completed in 2018, with ground have already broken on the 148 million Euro facility earlier this year.

With a Formula One date appearing to be unlikely, Tilke revealed in an interview with German publication “Sport Auto” that local promoters are looking “into attracting the second best world championship behind F1, and that is currently WEC.”

WEC boss Gerard Neveu wouldn’t confirm they are in talks with Kuwait but did indicate that its current contract with Bahrain is up at the end of this year.

Bahrain, which has hosted rounds of the WEC since the championship’s launch in 2012, has held an exclusivity deal for the Middle East, with industry sources indicating that a bidding war could develop between the two countries for the date.

While it’s unclear if negotiations have advanced in recent months, Neveu said they are always in contact with numerous circuits and promoters that have shown interest in hosting a round.

“This is why you have these rumors because it’s the end of [a contract] cycle for some circuits, so we’re looking at doing for next year,” Neveu said last month at Spa.

The 2018 WEC schedule could have a significantly different look to it, with the possibility of a reduction to eight rounds and varied race lengths, away from its traditional six-hour format that has been used for all regular-season events since 2013.

Neveu indicated that contracts with other circuits are also up for renewal, rumored to include Mexico City and Circuit of The Americas, although Neveu said a three-year extension with Fuji Speedway has been signed.

The government-funded Kuwait Motor Town, meanwhile, is set to feature multiple circuit configurations, as well as a karting track, off-road course, drag strip, driving academy, plus an on-site shopping mall and hotel.

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

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. EH

    June 8, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Get out of the middle east. There are too few races for two of them to be throw-aways.

    • FormulaFox

      June 9, 2017 at 5:39 am

      What’s the second one?

  2. Matt

    June 8, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Does the FIA value short term profits over long term gain? One again, this what this comes down to. A race in the Middle East will only continue to shrink the fan base.

  3. More crappy tracks

    June 8, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Fire Tilke

  4. roadhog29389

    June 8, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Second-Best? WEC is above current F1 imho

    • Andy Flinn

      June 9, 2017 at 5:16 am

      The WEC has always set its goal to be the F1 of sports car racing.

      Just look at where they race (Tilkedromes and road courses altered for F1).

      They’re after the same money F1 has been chasing, even if the overwhelming majority of people in the region couldn’t care less about sports car racing.

  5. someone

    June 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

    RIP COTA

    • N8

      June 8, 2017 at 11:52 am

      More like, burn in hell CotA, and take Herman Tilke with you.

      You’d think that WEC would look at Bernie Ecclestone’s business model of chasing state funded sanctioning fees instead of fans and know it’s shortcomings.

  6. Axl Rose ate my Buick

    June 8, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Scrap Bahrein and leave Middle East, races there makes no good for the series.

    • welp

      June 8, 2017 at 11:04 am

      WEC likes money, and they provide a lot of it. The WEC isn’t in quite the same boat as F1 where they can pick and choose who hands over the barrel of money to race these races. They’ll happily accept the money bag for the new Kuwaiti status symbol

  7. NaBUru38

    June 8, 2017 at 11:45 am

    To be fair, the Gulf is a major market for exotic sports cars.

  8. Mike S.

    June 8, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    All about $$$$ and those that have the most of it. Quite simple.

  9. fourloko

    June 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    dump nurburing. its a boring track

  10. TF110

    June 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    This track’s layout is pretty nice actually. Much better than Bahrain imo. If the series feels the Mid-East needs a round, I’d rather this track than Bahrain. They may pay for the race to be held there, which helps the WEC in general.

    • Robert

      June 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      I’d prefer they run elsewhere in the world, with so few rounds, but this does look like an improvement, circuit-wise, compared to Bahrain.

      Turn 1 should be FAST, and the run from T20, past the pits, through T1, and on down to Turn 2 is listed as 1,750 meters.

      Looks like Turns 3-5 should have noticeable elevation change, and Turn 5/6 is a LONG, decreasing-radius corner.

      Turns 8-11 are a set of very nice, flowing esses.

      Turn 12(-16) might be Istanbul T8 on steroids, being a five-apex right-hander.

      Turn 18 isn’t really tight and T19 is quick, so hopefully there’s decent scope for overtaking into Turn 20, since the cars shouldn’t spread out quick as much on the straight into the final corner.

      (For single-class racing) Turns 2 and 20 are the main, “conventional”, overtaking points. The creative could make something happen in Turns 5-7, maybe 15, and 18. The brave might have a go at Turns 1 and 12.

      It looks like Tilke started with a mirror of the Buriram outline, put in just a bit of Shanghai (Turns 5-7), and dropped in that corner from Istanbul. I’m not sure where the esses (Turns 8-11) come from, though he’s had practice, redoing the esses in Mexico City, and that rather nice set at the end of the lap in Valencia (even if that track overall was kind of painful).

      Kuwait is 3.485 miles, and I’d expect a relatively high average lap speed.

  11. RS2K

    June 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    “Second Best Championship”? Good way to attract customers. I firmly believe WEC has better racing and is far more exciting than F1.

    • Rus'L

      June 9, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Tilke said this. Not WEC.

  12. vanillachinchilla

    June 8, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    I’m sorry I’m trying to imagine a country with fewer motorsport fans than Kuwait. like what…?

    • Mark

      June 8, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Democratic Republic of the Congo?

    • Louis

      June 8, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Lesotho

    • Andy Flinn

      June 9, 2017 at 5:22 am

      Vanilla, possibly Vatican city.

      But like MikeS said, it’s not about fans. It’s about money.

      • Rus'L

        June 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        Vatican reside inside Italy. I would bet there are a few Ferrari fans there. 🙂 And that would be default mean Vatican City has more racing fans than Kuwait…

  13. vanillachinchilla

    June 8, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    I think im gonna go with North Korea, French polynesia, and madagascar

  14. Viva Gilles

    June 9, 2017 at 1:53 am

    Can we just go to Montreal already!!

  15. David

    June 9, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Revive the Kyalami 9 Hour!!!

    I’m not against Kuwait getting a date (especially if they putting out the money for it), but if you want differing race distances and combine some historic nostalgia this would be perfect.

    Not to mention Porsche South Africa owns Kyalami

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