Kuwait could play host to the FIA World Endurance Championship as early as next year, with the new Hermann Tilke-designed FIA Grade 1 venue reportedly in the running to potentially replace Bahrain on the 2018 calendar.
Kuwait Motor Town, a 3.7-mile circuit located 35 miles south of capital city of Kuwait City, is expected to be completed in 2018, with ground have already broken on the 148 million Euro facility earlier this year.
With a Formula One date appearing to be unlikely, Tilke revealed in an interview with German publication “Sport Auto” that local promoters are looking “into attracting the second best world championship behind F1, and that is currently WEC.”
WEC boss Gerard Neveu wouldn’t confirm they are in talks with Kuwait but did indicate that its current contract with Bahrain is up at the end of this year.
Bahrain, which has hosted rounds of the WEC since the championship’s launch in 2012, has held an exclusivity deal for the Middle East, with industry sources indicating that a bidding war could develop between the two countries for the date.
While it’s unclear if negotiations have advanced in recent months, Neveu said they are always in contact with numerous circuits and promoters that have shown interest in hosting a round.
“This is why you have these rumors because it’s the end of [a contract] cycle for some circuits, so we’re looking at doing for next year,” Neveu said last month at Spa.
The 2018 WEC schedule could have a significantly different look to it, with the possibility of a reduction to eight rounds and varied race lengths, away from its traditional six-hour format that has been used for all regular-season events since 2013.
Neveu indicated that contracts with other circuits are also up for renewal, rumored to include Mexico City and Circuit of The Americas, although Neveu said a three-year extension with Fuji Speedway has been signed.
The government-funded Kuwait Motor Town, meanwhile, is set to feature multiple circuit configurations, as well as a karting track, off-road course, drag strip, driving academy, plus an on-site shopping mall and hotel.