The majority of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship is now known, following the announcement of a link-up with the new Formula V8 3.5 series, which will serve as its international support series beginning next year.
At least six of the nine Formula V8 3.5 events will take place alongside the WEC, including the rounds in Mexico, Japan, Bahrain, as well as the European races at Silverstone, Spa and Nürburgring.
It joins the previously confirmed 24 Hours of Le Mans for the WEC, which will not feature the open-wheel series.
Formula V8 3.5 organized by RPM Racing, was previously known as Formula Renault 3.5 prior to the withdrawal of the French manufacturer’s backing at the end of last year.
According to WEC boss Gerard Neveu, the addition of the open-wheel series will provide a defined career path to the LMP1, LMP2 and GTE categories of the globe-trotting sports car championship.
Additionally, the champion, runner-up and third-placed driver in Formula V8 3.5 will be invited to take part in the WEC’s end-of-year Rookie Test in Bahrain.
“It’s great news for the fans, but also for the young drivers who are the champions of the future, and the future is tomorrow,” Neveu said.
“This single-seater championship has demonstrated for many years how very appealing and exciting it can be, while at the same time providing many great champions.
“It makes sense to offer to the new generation of drivers access to a well-established championship such as the FIA WEC.
“The fact that the champions will have an opportunity to take part in the WEC’s official rookie test at the end of the season will be additional motivation and a target for everyone on the grid.”
Dates for four of the expected nine WEC rounds have already been confirmed, with Silverstone set to open the season on April 14-16, followed by Spa, provisionally listed for May 4-6, Le Mans on June 17-18 and Nürburgring on July 14-16.
It leaves Circuit of The Americas and Shanghai as the only current WEC events not yet officially confirmed for next year.