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