The FIA World Endurance Championship could switch to a winter calendar in the future, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans serving as the season finale.
Series boss Gerard Neveu revealed Friday that discussions are underway for the potential format shift, which would see the championship kick off in September and run through the winter and spring in the build up to the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic in June.
“This is one discussion we’ve engaged with Pierre [Fillon, ACO President] a few months ago and very seriously with different partners and different people,” Neveu said. “When you take a decision like this, you have to take into consideration the manufacturers programs, the private team’s programs, the seasonal calendar, the logistics… Everything has to be moving in the same direction.”
Neveu admitted that the concept, which will be used in thew new FIA Formula E Championship, could be difficult to integrate into sports car racing, with factory teams typically rolling out new cars at the start of each year, and many privateer GT teams running in multiple series with traditional calendars, which would give them virtually no off-season.
“There are many different factors we have to take into consideration,” he said. “But there is a different way. We can also imagine to have a [few more races] during the winter period in order to reduce the gap, for example.
“But it would mean that it would totally change the logistic road because I will not do any dates in Europe in March for sure.”
The 2014 championship kicks off at Silverstone in April, with the season running into late November due to a date change for the round at Interlagos, which will now be held on Nov. 28-30.
As a result of the Brazil date shift, there is now a three-month gap between the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the fourth round at Circuit of The Americas in September.
While no further changes will be made to the 2014 calendar, Neveu said the format of a winter calendar has been a discussion point in recent FIA Endurance Commission meetings, although not everyone is on board with the concept.
“So far, we haven’t found a full agreement,” Neveu said. “And we will only do this modification under the full agreement.
“We would really like to keep this peaceful ambience in the paddock. If you want to keep that, you cannot be against the people, you have to be with the people.”
No timeframe has been given on a potential switch, should the concept gain the full approval of the series partners.