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WEC Discussing COTA Extension Talks, Further North American Races

WEC’s Craig discusses COTA future, possible North American additions…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

While the FIA World Endurance Championship is in the midst of its post-Le Mans break, preparation continues for its continued and potentially expanded future in North America.

Both the WEC and Circuit of the Americas circuit officials are beginning extension talks at the Austin facility, according to the WEC’s North American Representative, Andrew Craig.

“We’re starting to discuss that now,” Craig told Sportscar365. “We want to continue racing here. We’re starting those discussions now in working with our promoter to build the race further.

“We certainly regard Austin and Circuit of the Americas as a place we want to continue racing at.”

In terms of expansion to a potential second North American race, Montreal and Mexico City have been rumored as options for next year.

However, Craig did not say either of those venues – or for that matter, Indianapolis Motor Speedway – are immediate options, even though he said some venues have expressed interest in joining the WEC calendar.

“We are somewhat limited because of the nature of the racing, the long gaps in the schedule, and Le Mans itself taking a big chunk.” Craig said.

“We’ll never see WEC with 20 races. I think there will be a gradual increase in the number of races, but we’ll allocate them carefully.

“Absolutely there is (interest in a second race). But it’s probably a couple years away. This continent is very important to our manufacturers, and we are listening to that.”

In terms of additional entries for this year’s Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas beyond the full-season WEC grid, Craig didn’t entirely rule any out, but doesn’t expect there to be many if at all.

“We’re in a happy situation, where we actually had too many cars at the start of the year, and we found a way to accommodate those,” Craig said.

“We’re really running at maximum cars. I’m not expecting any significant one-off entries.”

Craig said building COTA has to be the first focus before adding another North American venue.

“It’s a good town, a vibrant town. We love the racetrack,” he said.

He added there remains some work to be done on the promotional front to add more local Texas audience beyond the national and international audience that attends the race.

“We’re building a fan base as the track is new, and good progress is being made,” Craig said. “We’re drawing well from Houston, good in San Antonio, but Dallas needs some work quite frankly.

“We’re very happy racing here. It’s in our third year, and we’re trying to build it in to a full city festival.”

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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