The 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship schedule will be released next month at Circuit of The Americas during the Lone Star Le Mans weekend, series boss Gerard Neveu has confirmed.
The globe-trotting sports car series, which will enter its fourth season next year, could see further growth from its current eight-round calendar, with the championship in talks with multiple new venues for 2016 and beyond.
It includes potential events in North America, with Neveu and WEC’s North American representative, Andrew Craig, having made visits to both Mexico City and Montreal. Rumors of an additional U.S. event at Road America, meanwhile, have also recently surfaced.
Other circuits that are understood to be under consideration include Monza and a return to Interlagos, which dropped off this year’s schedule due to track construction work.
While Neveu would not confirm additional events for 2016, he stressed the importance of maintaining the championship’s viability for its competitors.
“We are always looking at new opportunities,” he said. “We are in contact with promoters around the world who are keen to bring the WEC to new venues.
“But we will only add events to the calendar if the conditions are right to do so and in full agreement with our stakeholders and partners.
“We will continue to build on the solid foundations we have created since 2012.”
Six of the eight events have remained on the calendar since the championship’s launch, with Le Mans, Silverstone, Spa, Bahrain and Fuji all expected to maintain their presence for next year.
A return to COTA is also anticipated, despite the championship’s continued struggles with attendance at the Texas venue, while the new-for-2015 event at the Nürburgring is currently a one-year contract, but expected to be renewed.
The season is poised to again kick off at Silverstone on April 15-17, as Neveu said there are no immediate plans to shift to its proposed winter calendar.
“To build the brand awareness of the events we need consistency and the best way to engage with local fans and local media is to hold the events at the same time of year,” Neveu said.
“This will be the fourth time we have visited Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain and it will be the third event in Austin and in each case we have seen bigger crowds and more media interest every year.
“There are also the logistics involved in running the WEC to consider. Moving 30-plus cars and equipment from country to country is expensive and involves a lot of hard work so we try to move the WEC around the world in a logical sequence, using our resources effectively and at the same time keeping control of the costs involved.”