WEC Poised for Reduced Schedule, Possible Shift to Winter Calendar

Photo: Porsche

The FIA World Endurance Championship is poised to feature a reduced schedule in 2018, with the elimination of up to three rounds, a possible post-Le Mans start to the season and evolution to a winter championship.

Increasing questions, meanwhile, surround the future of its traditional season-opener at Silverstone.

Multiple sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that the famed British circuit, which has been on the calendar since the championship’s formation in 2012, is unlikely to return.

Silverstone is believed to be one of a potential three races on the chopping block, which could reduce the season to a six-round championship amid the recent LMP1 fallout.

Events at Circuit of The Americas and Mexico City are understood to be among those also in question, with contracts at both circuits expiring this year.

As a result, a more drastic change to a winter season, which had been under consideration in recent years, could be made, with French media reporting the 2018 season may not begin until after next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

WEC CEO Gerard Neveu revealed in May that changes to the calendar and race formats were under consideration, including a possible reduction to eight rounds at that time, as well as the addition of qualifying races for GTE-Pro cars.

While plans for qualifying races for the top production-based class, which welcomes BMW next year, appear to still be on track, the likely changes to the overall calendar are believed to have been prompted by the developing LMP1 situation.

Toyota, the lone remaining factory squad in LMP1, could take part in a limited season next year, which would leave multiple events without a manufacturer entry in the top class.

It’s understood at least six rounds, on three continents, are required for the WEC to retain World Championship status, which it intends to do so thanks to the new-for-2017 world titles for GTE manufacturers and drivers.

The series launched in 2012 with an eight-round season before adding a ninth event, in Mexico, last year.

Both Neveu and ACO President Pierre Fillion have been unavailable for comment since Porsche’s announcement last month, although a press conference has been scheduled for Friday in Mexico City, which could reveal further details on the championship’s future.

105 Comments

  1. Dieter Meier

    August 30, 2017 at 10:47 am

    So Le Mans would be a non-championship race or what? That does not make any sense. And who needs a WEC without Le Mans?

    • Parker

      August 30, 2017 at 11:25 am

      I was thinking the same thing. How can the season start after the premier race of the championship?

      • Bob

        August 30, 2017 at 11:34 am

        You mean like Nascar does at Daytona?

        • Parker

          August 30, 2017 at 11:38 am

          At least in NASCAR the Daytona 500 scores points towards the overall championship. The way the article is written, it sounds as if the championship begins after Le Mans. Big difference.

          • JayM

            August 30, 2017 at 11:58 am

            Yeah, the article doesn’t make it clear, but the article it links to indicates Le Mans would be the season finale.

    • JayM

      August 30, 2017 at 11:57 am

      It would make Le Mans the season’s finale.

      • FlyingLobster27

        August 30, 2017 at 1:29 pm

        Team orders spoiling Le Mans, anyone? Honestly, I’d rather LM be non-championship than the WEC finale.

        The comment below on resurrecting the ILMC is one I’d agree with on the whole – putting select races into a global challenge. SRO are doing that with Spa, Bathurst, Sepang (Suzuka next year) and Laguna Seca, and the idea seems to be starting to gel.

        • NaBUru38

          August 30, 2017 at 4:33 pm

          Team orders happen in the FIA WEC because of the drivers championship.

          It should be dropped, and have only teams / manufacturers championship.

      • NaBUru38

        August 30, 2017 at 4:32 pm

        If the 24 Hours of Le Mans becomes the season finale, then the championship will become meaningless.

        • Parker

          August 31, 2017 at 11:24 am

          The first Le Mans that can be at the end of a championship would be 2019. Wouldn’t that effectively make the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans an exhibition race?

    • GR88

      August 30, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      The idea of transitioning to a winter series involves a shortened ’18 season (or standalone events), then moving to a ’18/’19 season proper, like Formula E.

      It’s been in the works for a few years, so LMP1 upheaval makes this ideal opportunity to switch.

  2. fourloko

    August 30, 2017 at 10:54 am

    COTA was a ghost town this year for imsa. they should drop nurburgring and add yas marina

    • Racer97

      August 30, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Why the Nürburgring? That´s bullshit! There was over 50k People. At Yas Marina there will be 500 or so.

  3. jason

    August 30, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Ok so in other words. Things are an absolute mess. More so than it really should be I think. I can understand taking out COTA for sure. But the rest of the calendar is fine. A race with LMP2 cars and a couple of privateer LMP1s running for overall is that bad? I think its fine since you do have GTE Pro in there.

    • Rus'L

      August 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Part of this could be because tracks are losing money. Why else would Silverstone be on the chopping block?

      • AudiTT

        August 30, 2017 at 1:22 pm

        Because this is part of a transition year to a winter schedule and Silverstone are also in dispute with F1.

      • Andy Flinn

        August 30, 2017 at 4:30 pm

        Silverstone’s multi-million dollar F1 loses have doubled the past two years.

        The track is drowning.

        • Andy Flinn

          August 30, 2017 at 4:34 pm

          “losses”

          Sorry.

  4. Change it up

    August 30, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Shift the 6 hours of Watkins Glen to labor day weekend and have the WEC bring in their GT cars. Have it be the IMSA vs. WEC GT challenge. Or have a separate 6 hour GT only race with the WEC and IMSA somewhere in the US.

    • Change it up

      August 30, 2017 at 11:39 am

      OR scratch the 6 hours of Watkins Glen and make it the 6 hours of COTA in mid May. Have it bring in any WEC car that wants practice prior to Le Mans and have them race against all IMSA cars.

      • GR88

        August 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        If it’s for GTE cars, therefore not requiring a Grade 1 circuit, take advantage of that, and visit one of the US classic tracks.

      • Rus'L

        August 30, 2017 at 12:20 pm

        Umm, no way is the Six Hours of the Glen being scratched for anything, especially for a empty COTA. Sheesh… Heck, IMSA already abandoned COTA for Mid-Ohio.

      • AudiTT

        August 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm

        Because this is part of a transition year to a winter schedule and Silverstone is also in dispute with F1.

      • Andy Flinn

        August 30, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        There’s a reason IMSA and the WEC have had separate races – and now separate dates – at CoTA.

      • Davy

        August 30, 2017 at 9:13 pm

        How about no? Watkins Glen is a great track, while CotA is not.

        • Jeff

          August 30, 2017 at 9:20 pm

          Watkins Glen has been packed with fans and campers since the merger.

      • Matt

        August 31, 2017 at 1:37 am

        No COTA is the lamest track in the country. That’d be a great way to piss off fans.

    • Andy Flinn

      August 30, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      It won’t work.

      Just like the nixed return of the WEC to Sebring in 2013, the WEC/FIA/ACO wouldn’t race with IMSA at Watkins Glen unless they could run the show.

      That’s also one reason we have separate IMSA and WEC endurance races at CoTA.

      • Thomas

        August 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm

        You can’t run two races at once with two completely different sets of sporting regulations

        • Andy Flinn

          August 31, 2017 at 4:49 pm

          Thomas, the inherent problems with the WEC and IMSA collaborating on one race (Sebring 2012) predate the ALMS/Grand-Am merger and any new sporting regulations.

    • Matt

      August 31, 2017 at 1:36 am

      Indycar runs at the Glen Labor Day weekend.

  5. Mr Muffins

    August 30, 2017 at 11:10 am

    If the WEC schedule is set to begin after Le Mans, it looks like teams wanting to get endurance racing practice prior to Le Mans will have only one place to go.

  6. Slicks in the wet

    August 30, 2017 at 11:37 am

    “Women and children first!”

    • 996corsa

      August 30, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      lol, how do say that in French?

      • Pierre

        August 31, 2017 at 4:42 am

        “les femmes et les enfants d’abord”

  7. David Chaste

    August 30, 2017 at 11:53 am

    The new P2s are too fast so even privateer P1 cars are not even sure they can handle them. They’re even faster at lemans than the Rebellion R1s were.

    They need to be pegged back just a bit to even make P1 worth it.

    • GR88

      August 30, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      The P2’s did 3.25’s,

      P1-H 3.14.

      Even ByKolles said they should have done 3.21.

      The new P1-L cars should be able to do 3.20 and under (150bhp more,100kg less than P2)

      • David Chaste

        August 30, 2017 at 2:17 pm

        How long in years did it take bykolles to get there. The new P2s are not even past their first year. The slightest update would make them even faster.

        • AF

          August 30, 2017 at 2:54 pm

          The fact is that the P2’s will have one update during their four year homologation period, same as DPI. LMP1 allows unrestricted yearly development aside so realistically they would be the cars that will get quicker.

      • Mac Caddy

        August 30, 2017 at 2:39 pm

        I predict that the unBOPed Caddy with Michelin tires would do a 3:15 at Le Mans.

        • Travis McBee

          August 30, 2017 at 3:51 pm

          More like Dunlop.

        • Steven

          August 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm

          Put the weed down and step away from the keyboard.

        • barra

          August 30, 2017 at 8:56 pm

          Based on what? Oreca was on pace with it at Daytona, and would wipe the floor with it at Le Mans, as it did with other P2 cars.

          Ralf Juttmer himself said it would be impossible to bring DPi to the speeds of the LMP1-L.

          • Helmut

            August 31, 2017 at 6:16 am

            Why should it be impossible? The LMP1-NH that we’ve seen so far (R-One, CLM) are just evolutions of LMP2 cars, not conceptually different. LMP1-NH could be much more advanced if there were teams that had the money to spend money on the development, but so far we haven’t seen any.

          • ShiftingLanes Chad

            August 31, 2017 at 8:54 am

            Maybe the Mazda, but the Cadillac and Nissan should have plenty of Horsepower potential to eclipse the current LMP2s.

    • Matt

      August 31, 2017 at 1:39 am

      How about P1 push forward with speeds? Racing should never be “pegged back”.

      • Socialist

        August 31, 2017 at 11:28 am

        Racing should be pegged back when there is speed inequality between the teams. It is more important to manufacture equal outcomes than let teams win on merit.

        • Andy Flinn

          August 31, 2017 at 4:54 pm

          Socialist, it’s far better to do nothing, let costs explode, and then watch your participants leave (first Peugeot, then Nissan, then Audi, then Rebellion, then Porsche, then ByKolles) one by one.

          Perrinn is done before they even got started.

          Will Toyota’s win at Le Mans in 2018 – if they’re around to pull it off – be based on “merit” or because they’re the last manufacturer in LMP1 left standing?

  8. GeorgeA

    August 30, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Whoa pump the brakes everybody. They’re talking about a one-time reset for a fall-winter schedule. Le Mans as a standalone race would be for 2018 only. The new reduced season would start in the fall of 2018 and conclude at LM 2019.

    LM was a non-championship invitational race thoroughout much of the 1990s and 2000s, and Western civilization survived. We can handle this, especially as it gives teams an extra few months to prepare for whatever follows LMP1-H,

  9. Jickel

    August 30, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    COTA could be saved if the winter calendar is adopted and a race is held from November-March instead of the heels of summer, which is just brutal there. Teaming with another event (PWC or SVRA since IMSA is out) would definitely help bring in more crowds.

    • AudiTT

      August 30, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      COTA is by far the worst event on the calender in terms of fan support and atmosphere. There should be no attempt to revive it.

      • Larry

        August 31, 2017 at 10:40 pm

        In terms of support in general even for teams, vendors, and corner workers.

        I worked corners for the WEC/IMSA event last year and talk about being treated like red-headed stepchildren.

        I will say that changing it to a cooler part of the year might help but I still ain’t all that anxious to go back there.

        It was not the local SCCA region, as they did their best to overcome the shortcomings by track management. They were definitely endearing and make one all warm and fuzzy and want to come back.

    • Rus'L

      August 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      There wouldn’t be enough track time to also do PWC or especially SVRA. WEC takes up a lot of track time simply because of the length of the race…

    • Matt

      August 31, 2017 at 1:43 am

      Honestly, COTA is such a shitty track. Investors need to let it die and move on. It’s so boring compared to many other US tracks.

  10. Prototype 1

    August 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I think next year WEC will have at least 6 races.

    2018 Possible Schedule:
    Round 1: Daytona International Speedway: WTSC- Daytona 24 Hours
    Round 2: Sebring International Raceway: WTSC- 12 Hours of Sebring
    Round 3: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps: ELMS
    Round 4: Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe: Le Mans 24 Hours
    Round 5: Fuji Speedway:
    Round 6: Yas Marina Circuit:

    • Change it up

      August 30, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      As much as I would love to see the WEC race in the Daytona 24 and 12h of Sebring I feel it would be close to impossible to fit all of those cars on the grid with IMSA. Maybe Sebring should be split into two 6 hour races. All IMSA and WEC GT cars battle it out in a GT dual in the first 6 hour race. Then the second 6 hour race feature the LMP2 and LMP1 (if an are left) of the WEC with IMSA’s DPi’s.

      Or Sebring restructure their pit lane and build a massive one along side the last straight away that can hold 100+ cars and just have an all out IMSA vs WEC dual for 12 hours.

      • pdxracefan

        August 30, 2017 at 1:27 pm

        Apparently you don’t remember 2012.

      • 996corsa

        August 30, 2017 at 4:15 pm

        Is it really worth dumping the format of the 12 Hours (not 6 + 6) of Sebring, one of the true classics of endurance racing, just to bail out the WEC? I seriously doubt IMSA is interested in that.
        WEC cars (LMP2 & GTE) can already configure their cars to IMSA specs/tires and ask for an entry. It seems like quite a few are considering it already, even more so for the Daytona 24.
        Perhaps a more viable scenario would be a winter-time, standalone Sebring event for the WEC championship. Might be a great fit if the WEC does go to a winter focused schedule.
        Maybe with an incentive for IMSA based GTLM/GTE and privateer LMP2 cars to join in (running on WEC rules)? Like IMSA is offering to overseas teams for the 2018 “36 hours of Florida”?

        • Change it up

          August 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm

          Would be nice to see a WEC race in the late fall time in the US. I’m from the Northeast, would enjoy a fall time race (psst, Palmer motorsport park is gorgeous in the fall). Common GT only race!!

      • NaBUru38

        August 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm

        I’d rather split Petit Le Mans into two 6 hour races.

      • Matt

        August 31, 2017 at 1:44 am

        Yeah, just erase the 12 hours of Sebring. The world’s greatest endurance race besides Le Mans. Great plan

      • Larry

        August 31, 2017 at 10:45 pm

        Do what you want with Daytona but leave the March 12 Hours of Sebring alone.

        That place and race has a mystique and an allure that Daytona can never have and it should be left alone with the 12 Hour regardless of the sanctioning body.

        Doing a WEC 6 hour or 12 hour in the fall would be a great idea. I remember several years of having the Firehawk cars in a 12 hour race in the fall and the old Supercars series in the fall way back in the ’80s and early ’90s. That was fun.

    • Thomas

      August 30, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      You completely ignored the practicalities to come up with this one that’s for sure.

    • Av

      August 31, 2017 at 8:30 am

      I like that schedule a lot.

  11. vanillachinchilla

    August 30, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I think they should go back to an ILMC type model, scrap the WEC as a stand alone championship, its done better than I would have predicted but clearly not sustainable, and its definitely hurt IMSA and the ELMS (esp the later). These championships used to have tops teams participating, IMSA luckily has retained much of its GTLM strength, minus Aston Martin, and the Grand Am merger saved its prototype class, but ELMS is like watching club racing now, esp. in prototype. I’d rather see P1 (albeit with heavy changes) eventually reintegrated into these two series with Le Mans acting as a standalone as a kind of world series between them. We could still incorporate many of the same endurance races but with support coming from two directions to populate grids. People say the old LMP1 (pre/non-hybrid) was bound to die but it was never given a real chance, it was always spread too thin with grand am in the mix, and now with WEC it didnt have a chance in IMSA/ELMS. I say give it a real chance, these regional series are the heart and soul of the sport. Not WEC.

    • AudiTT

      August 30, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      The WEC has been around in various guises for over 50 years. It’s the very definition of the heart and soul of the sport. Its unusual not to have a World Championship for sportscars. All indications are next years grid will be larger than this year, the issue is LMP1. Even so, it’s likely that will have a larger entry than we’ll see at Mexico this weekend.

      The ELMS has never been stronger. It’s home to highly professional teams who are competitive at Le Mans and have no issues stepping upto WEC. It’s format and calender is intended as a stepping stone to WEC, while being stable and putting on a good show. The ILMC was a short-term stepping stone to a World Championship, and never truly worked sue to fluid entries and piggy backing onto other series.

    • Max

      August 30, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      P1 in the US was going to die, but it was doing pretty well in Europe even though you were pretty much guaranteed to the a second fiddle to Audi and whoever the second factory squad was. At least there were enough competitors to keep a factory interested.

  12. Sir Skidsalot

    August 30, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    This former electrician who hates electric cars and hybrids, they have ruined racing. Yes, LMP1h cars are fast, but the money is too much. Formula E just totally sucks, its like watching a race on mute. They are just one step away from giant RC car racing, with the only danger is to the few spectators that hang around to watch the remotely piloted driverless things that look like race cars, maybe. Imagine all the batteries you could load up in them if you didn’t have that driver in the way…Puke!

    Now LMP1h is threatening to take down the WEC, great, let the regional bodies/series will take over racing LMP2/DPi as the premier class racing along with the GTE/GTLM and if there’s room GT3. Then scrap the WEC, but have each of the regional series host one 24hr race (Nurburgring, Daytona, Fuji, etc.), and one 12 or 6 hour race each (Sebring, Silverstone, Singapore, etc) where all are invited to come play. That gives you what, 6 races?

    Then add in Le Mans for double points, add up the points and the winners would be real world endurance champions? Kind of like the Patron Cup on steroids, but would mean a little bit of sharing. It would also let you race mostly near your home base, but you’d travel to 4 races a year. Those teams that don’t want to participate in the world championship could still race in their local series. You could maybe throw in an FIA sponsored race at someplace like Dubai as a wild card that moves around to places wanting to host it.

    • Change it up

      August 30, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      +1

    • KLM

      August 30, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      Let me guess.

      All these people seemingly hoping and praying the WEC goes away are from the US?

      Some of the suggestions are outright crazy.

    • Monoq

      August 30, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      For me the problem with Formula E is not the sound, it’s more about the tracks that are too small and narrow and are always in the cities as the cars make no noises. I would love to see Formula E cars racing around tracks like Mount Panorama, Laguna Seca or Mosport.

      • BrandenburgNoir

        August 30, 2017 at 6:11 pm

        For me it’s the mid-race car change. Once they finally start going the full distance with a single car, I’ll be all for it.

      • screwthegreeniecrap

        August 31, 2017 at 10:48 pm

        Yeah, let’s put playing cars held on with clothes pins to flap on the spokes so we can hear them.

        Useless stupid series.

  13. jason

    August 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I like the idea of finding a way to bring the WEC GTE category to run a combined race with GTLM and GTD. A 3 class enduro 1)GTLM/GTE Pro 2)GTE AM 3)GTD

    Probably the only way to make it work in 2018 is to adopt it an already existing round such as VIR since it is already a GT only race. Although Laguna Seca can be considered too and have the DPI’s run a separate race.

    But yeah with LMP1 hybrid gone WEC does not need to be in the USA anymore since GTLM is already present minus Aston Martin. And I sure hope AMR considers a 36 hour of florida run in 2018.

  14. Tim

    August 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    COTA management aren’t race people and don’t understand what sportscar fans want. Or can afford. Terribly overpriced. Been there for F1 and WEC, and WeatherTech. Even the vendors dont show. Events are poorly promoted and locals dont even know what’s going on. Won’t go back. Mid-Ohio so much better for the fans.

    • fourloko

      August 30, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      i went there this year and there was like 1 place to get food and the line took forever. some young girl got heat stroke

    • Robin

      August 30, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      If I can’t camp in the track I almost have no interest in going to a race at a track.

      • Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

        August 30, 2017 at 4:26 pm

        Haywoods Hill turn 11. One of the best kept secrets in racing as far as camping.Private property with an excellent view. But CoTA is down to 3 events so nobody will really much care anyway

    • Jon

      August 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      The 6 hours of Cota is $79 for a weekend pass, and camping is $200 trackside. Not sure what’s overpriced in that. F1 on the other hand is too expensive to see, but that’s the same everywhere.

      • Matt

        August 31, 2017 at 1:47 am

        $200 for camping isn’t overpriced? Are you a CEO or?

        • MattZ

          August 31, 2017 at 8:27 am

          For IndyCar, trackside at The Glen is $450. I don’t remember what it was for the 6 hours, but it was over $200.

  15. pop

    August 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    COTA is EXTREMELY overrated

    • Steven

      August 30, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      of course it is, its a Tilke track.

      • Jenner

        August 30, 2017 at 9:55 pm

        You may want to ask Tommy Kendall if he wished Watkins Glen had more concrete runoff and FIA safety barriers.

        WG”s wet grass runoff and guard rail didn’t protect Tommy one bit.

        • Matt

          August 31, 2017 at 1:48 am

          No way???! Racing is dangerous??

        • 996corsa

          August 31, 2017 at 5:00 am

          Things have changed since and while the Glen still has teeth and can hurt you (it’s still the fastest road course in the US for most of the series that run on it), it has become demonstrably safer with the many improvements made over the years. Kendall’s big one at The Glen (1991) was over 25 years ago. In qually for that race, the fastest GTP cars were doing 200+mph in the backstretch radar trap. Turn 5, where TK was hurt, was directly at the end of that straight back then. The entrance speed into Turn 5 was simply too much for the available runoff and barriers of the day. NASCAR driver JD McDuffie died that same summer, only 5 weeks later, at that same turn. Was at both events, that was a tough summer for Glen fans. Both accidents had mechanical failures at their root cause. The Bus Stop chicane before T5 was installed for the next season.

  16. Scott Moncado

    August 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I hope the WEC dies a terrible death and Ricky Taylor becomes the face of DPi and top prototype racing in the world

    • Eat me

      August 30, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      You need to get a life. Monkey boys ain’t that good, shit they’re the only ones in a Full Factory backed effort. We’ll see how good the monkey boy’s are next year against Penske and Joest.

  17. TheBrad

    August 30, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Hurry up and finish rearranging the deck chairs on the TitanicP1.

    P1 FTL!

    Daytona Prototype is growing and expanding FTW!!!!

  18. Cosmo DeLuca

    August 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I saw this earlier and didn’t believe it. Now that you’ve reported, it must be true.

  19. Grand Am Fan

    August 30, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Now is the time for the WEC to introduce stage racing. Imagine Le Mans with 10-12 stages and maybe the last hour each of the stage winners get reset onto the same lap and then go for the win!

    • jason

      August 30, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      That sarcasm is perfect. I could not even watch the NASCAR Xfinity series Mid Ohio and Road America races because of those stupid stages.

      Meanwhile look at the IMSA race at VIR or Lime Rock. 2 hours and 40 minutes straight of green flag racing. It was very good and fun to watch!

      Back to the topic, I think the WEC is going get themselves into a even bigger mess. The winter format calendar never has worked in motor racing. Just don’t go there. I think WEC is trying to find an identity without LMP1 hybrid that’s for sure.

      • Grand Am Fan

        August 30, 2017 at 4:56 pm

        I’m not being sarcastic.

        Also, the lucky dog might be a good rule change to keep the field more even throughout the race.

        • Joel

          August 31, 2017 at 10:47 am

          How about introducing a joker lap where you have to drive through the old Maison Blanche area once per hour?

          • Grand Am Fan

            August 31, 2017 at 11:35 am

            A joker lap is an interesting idea but Maison Blanche is just too dangerous. What do others think about a fan boost, a lucky dog where you can move ahead to the next safety car queue, or competition cautions at random times?

    • Eat me

      August 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      The greatest race car ever was whatever JC France was driving, because it was powered by large amounts of cocaine and energy drinks!

  20. Blue Oval fan

    August 30, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Just a bigger indication of how big a hole the ACO/WEC has dug itself into, what a joke this whole affair has become. Thanks Porsche/VAG group, or perhaps they saw the handwriting on the wall, and were like rats fleeing a sinking ship, hmmmmmmmmm. I see Jensen Button is considering a Penske ride in the Acura DPi, that should sit well with the fruit cuppers from Europe eh?

    • Jenner

      August 30, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      The DIP’s will run their course and eventually die off, just like Can-Am, IMSA GTP, ALMS, Grand-Am.

      The manufactures will start spending $$$, just like they always have. Then when they start pulling out one by one, the only ones left are the few privateers running 3-4 yr old equipment with their 60 yr old CEO owner/driver.

      Enjoy the run, it will all be over before you know it.

      • Truth

        August 31, 2017 at 11:38 am

        At least DPi has the potential to make a sustained run. LMP1-H is over.

  21. Steven

    August 30, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    They had a perfect thing going with the ILMC, then the FIA got involved. They will never let anything get close to their baby in F1.

    • Helmut

      August 31, 2017 at 6:23 am

      Nonsense. The ACO wanted it to become a World Championship and for that purpose, they needed the FIA.

  22. Davy

    August 30, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    How about another attempt at a FIA GT championship? I am sure a race where the GTs are the stars of the show will very successful.

    The ugly boring prototypes only take up unnecessary screen time anyway. I could not care one bit that the faceless Russian team with the spec car is ahead of the random French team with the same car. It will only get worse now that utterly useless teams like bykolles and ginetta will potentially be fighting for the wins.

    • tracer

      August 31, 2017 at 10:45 am

      There’s a lot to chew on here with regard to the future of the WEC, but one thing is for sure: if the core concept of the series was sustainable then the mere collapse of LMP1-H wouldn’t necessitate eliminating a third of the schedule and/or moving the entire schedule to non-traditional winter dates. I can think of a myriad of issues with the latter idea right off the bat, such as cold weather in the northern hemisphere, conflicts with the growing Asian Le Mans calendar and IMSA, huge gaps between events and a lack of prestige/importance with regard to the timing of the LM24.

      I strongly believe that the only way forward for ACO racing is to capitalize on the rising strengths of the distinct continental ACO series: IMSA in North America, ELMS in Europe, and the Asian Le Mans Series in Asia. There is ample evidence to suggest that a globe trotting series is ill-suited to the business realities of sportscar racing teams because it only survives with substantial factory involvement.

      Instead of focusing on a world championship format which necessarily requires factory or factory-backed teams, which has historically proven to be fleeting and problematic for long term interests, the emphasis needs to be on continuing to support the myriad of regional sportscar outfits and chassis manufacturers that are the lifeblood of the three continental series. This can be done while also providing factories attractive opportunities to continue promoting their interests in both prototype and GT platforms, by partnering with established regional racing organizations. The ACO can accomplish this by simply aligning the series’ categories into four classes: LMP-Pro, LMP-Am, GT-Pro, GT-Am. Let each series define what those classes look like and which rule sets best fit their individual needs. For the time being, that will be: DPi/LMP2, GTE/GT3 in IMSA; LMP2/LMP3 and GTE in ELMS; and LMP2/LMP3, GTE/GT3/GT Cup in ALMS. Optimally, all series would eventually move to a common category construction of DPi/LMP2 and GTE/GT3, with feeder/junior supporting series comprising LMP3, GT4, and TCR platforms. Sportscar racing has already shifted decisively in this direction. It’s time for the ACO to start swimming with the tide instead of swimming against it.

  23. WBrowning

    August 31, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    The fact that IMSA has succumbed to Europe and will be running what is almost comlpetely a group of “world classes” with LMP2/DPi, GTE/GTLM, GT3, LMP3, GT4 and TCR. I think the worlds regional sanctioning bodies and the FIA should get with each of them and designate a couple races from each body as “world championship” round, open to competitors from all the regions.

    IMSA has started the ball rolling with their 36 Hours of Florida. If ELMS and ALMS would do likewise with some of their bigger races, inviting IMSA and other counterparts. That would be a great start.

  24. Greg

    August 31, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Fill the grid then fill the stands. The WEC suffers from attendance and media coverage. Mexico and COTA will be all or nothing, you can not put out the kind of money needed to stage as WEC event for a couple of thousand people. I will bid my farewell to the WEC at COTA in Sept along with the 5000 true fans.

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