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2019-20 Fuji, Shanghai Dates Changed; Clashes Avoided

2019-20 Fuji, Shanghai dates changed to avoid F1, Macau, Petit Le Mans clashes…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

The dates of the Fuji and Shanghai rounds of the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship have been moved to avoid major clashes in an updated schedule released on Thursday.

A final version of the calendar was presented to the FIA Endurance Commission with both of the championship’s Far Eastern rounds moved by one week.

It comes after several clashes have arisen since the schedule was initially announced at Silverstone in August.

The publication of the 2019 Formula 1 calendar saw the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka placed on the same weekend as the Six Hours of Fuji, on Oct. 13.

This WEC date would also have clashes with the Motul Petit Le Mans for the second consecutive year, with several drivers forced to choose between the WEC and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races this October.

The Fuji round will now take place on Oct. 6, one week earlier, which has allowed for the Four Hours of Shanghai to be moved from Nov. 17 to Nov. 10.

This move avoids a clash with the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix, with the latter still be held on the same weekend as the Shanghai race this year.

However, clashes still exist between the opener at Silverstone and the Belgian Grand Prix and Blancpain GT Series finale at the Nürburgring.

The series’ return to Sao Paolo and South America, on Feb. 1, clashes with the traditional weekend of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, although no 2020 date has been announced for the Australian race yet.

“Our 2019-2020 season calendar features the same venues and race lengths we announced at Silverstone,” said WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.

“But, following the F1 calendar publication, we have modified two dates.

“The knock-on benefit of this is that we will now avoid a clash with both IMSA’s Petit Le Mans and the Macau GT event which is a bonus for both competitors and fans of endurance racing around the world.”

The updated schedule, will be submitted to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for approval in Paris on Oct. 12.

2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship Schedule:

Sept. 1 – Four Hours of Silverstone
Oct. 6 – Six Hours of Fuji
Nov. 10 – Four Hours of Shanghai
Dec. 14 – Eight Hours of Bahrain
Feb. 1 – Six Hours of Sao Paolo
March – 1000 Miles of Sebring (TBC)
May 2 – Six Hours of Spa
June 13-14 – 24 Hours of Le Mans

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Dan

    September 20, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Well maybe now some people will shut up about the clashes and certain people stop taking cheap shots through their writing.

    • FlyingLobster27

      September 20, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      WEC still made an error in making their schedule public so soon, I won’t back down from that. The Silverstone calendar was little more than a track wishlist, and now we’re seeing the dates. If that, Sebring is still TBA and is the festival in Brazil definitive?

      • Rus'L

        September 20, 2018 at 2:55 pm

        They said all along that the Sebring date will be TBA until they see how well it runs this winter.

    • FlyingLobster27

      September 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      I’ve given it a bit more thought and, to be fair, the WEC has to know its 2019 calendar around now, because all the other championships are booking circuits now. It doesn’t need to PUBLISH it now, because 2020 is still to be negotiated for the large part, but it does need to have its slots. The problem is the winter calendar, which means we have this half-baked situation. Formula E gets away with the winter calendar because it’s not competing for grade A track berths.

      It’s been made worse this year by the WEC being over-enthusiastic about its calendar and duration changes that the fans did/didn’t want (depends on which question of the survey you read) and wanting to be the first to get it out, only to have to move over when F1 pulls a surprise on them. But was the WEC really caught out by that? Are these people not talking to each other? FOG and ACO? Or Suzuka and Fuji, given the agreement they have, that Neveu touted as “very smart”?

  2. edward

    September 20, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Decent, but that 4h races are a bit short. Maybe they could add 1000km races istead (5h races)
    No words for Bahrain.
    Still hoping for Indianapolis, Monza..

  3. Steve

    September 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Indy? You’ll get 10 whole fans for that race.

    • tracer

      September 21, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      Agreed that it’s unlikely a WEC round at Indy would draw any sort of meaningful crowd… which can be great if you’re there in person, but the massive expanse of empty grandstands looks absolutely terrible on TV when your brain is so accustomed to seeing them packed for the 500. Worse than the attendance issue is the fact that the Indy roadcourse has to be one of the dullest layouts on the planet.

  4. Monoq

    September 20, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    What about the Yas Marina circuit in the UAE? I think it’ll be a great track for multiclass racing. I know there’s the Gulf 12h but it’s not as exciting when only half of the track is shown at the livestream.

  5. Chris

    September 20, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    4 hour races = Endurance?

    • Tim Lawrence

      September 22, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      Definitely not. When Le Mans is basically a 24 hour ‘sprint’ then 4 hours has nothing to do with endurance.

  6. David Chaste

    September 20, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    They’re more worried about clashes with f1 than imsa. If for example imsa decided they would allow P1 cars to compete alongside dpis that would drive the wec out of business. Sure they avoided imsa clashes for next season but it was more to avoid the f1 clashes.

    F1 cant steal teams and top drivers from the wec. IMSA can.

    • FlyingLobster27

      September 20, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      The WEC wasn’t expecting F1 to publish a calendar with Suzuka on the same date as Fuji. It’s fair enough that they don’t want to clash with another FIA World Championship race in the same country.
      I agree that not clashing with NAEC is not a priority for the WEC, it’s just “a bonus” in the words of Gérard Neveu. Had PLM been scheduled on 6 Oct, as WEC had originally expected (man, they have to change their crystal balls), the F1 calendar would have “forced” them to create the clash rather than lift it. They got lucky.

  7. Octavian Axel

    September 21, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Top job for WEC organizers for solving the clashes.

  8. Andy Flinn

    September 21, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    “…a bonus for both competitors and fans of endurance racing around the world.”

    — Gerard Neveu

    That’s how I view the Friday WEC race at Sebring in 2019.

  9. tracer

    September 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Thank god. I can excuse one year clashing with Petit bc sometimes sh*t happens, but letting it happen again the next year would’ve been absolute BS. Sounds like that wasn’t even a priority in making this change, so I guess we may get to look forward to the same saga play out again the year after…

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