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Bahrain Finale Brought Forward, Creating 12H Sebring Date Clash

F1 calendar change prompts WEC to move Bahrain season finale onto same day as 12H Sebring…

Photo: Toyota

The FIA World Endurance Championship has brought the season-ending 8 Hours of Bahrain forward by one week, creating a clash with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The final round of the 2019-20 campaign and the series’ second visit to Bahrain this season will now be held on Saturday, Nov. 14 rather than Nov. 21 as originally planned.

Its re-allocation comes after Formula 1 published the latest changes to its 2020 schedule on Tuesday, including two races at Bahrain International Circuit on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.

The WEC round at the same venue has subsequently been moved one week earlier to create space between the two FIA world championships.

It means the 8 Hours of Bahrain will take place on the same day as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship closer at Sebring, which has been postponed from March.

The WEC race will start at 2 p.m. local time (7 a.m. EST) and run to 10 p.m. (3 p.m. EST) while the timetable for the 12-hour IMSA race, which usually begins at 10:40 a.m. EST, has not yet been published.

The mid-November weekend also involves GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup, which is holding its season finale at Paul Ricard on the Sunday.

WEC CEO Gerard Neveu expressed a belief that the date clash between WEC and IMSA will have a “minimal impact” on both series.

“As we stated very clearly when we announced our revised calendar in April, dates were subject to further change according to the evolution of the current health crisis, or because of the calendars of other FIA world championships,” he said.

“We are very fortunate that Bahrain International Circuit is ready and willing to be so accommodating and, indeed, welcoming to the WEC in what will be an extremely busy period for them.

“It is, of course, less fortunate that the date now clashes with IMSA’s 12 Hours of Sebring, but the compressed racing schedules in the second half of the year have been brought about due to an unprecedented situation and we believe there will be minimal impact on both series.

“Our overriding concern continues to be for everyone’s good health, and we are taking as many precautions as possible to ensure that we can all experience a happy and healthy end to season eight.”

The WEC held its fourth round of the 2019-20 season in Bahrain last December, with victory going to the Toyota crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.

A second visit was then added to make up for the cancelation of the 1000 Miles of Sebring, which was due to appear on the same March weekend bill as the IMSA 12 Hours.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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