Connect with us


WEC Targeting Gradual Return to Eight-Race Calendar

One additional race a possibility for next year as part of WEC’s growth plan…

Photo: Harry Parvin/WEC

The FIA World Endurance Championship is targeting a return to its traditional eight-round calendar by as early as 2024 with series boss Frederic Lequien indicating that adding one race for next year would be a “good” step amid continued global logistical issues.

The globe-trotting championship has been running at a reduced six-race schedule, largely in Europe, for the last two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although the number of races is likely to ramp back up in the coming years, particularly amid the arrival of numerous new manufacturers to the Hypercar class in 2023.

Speaking to Sportscar365 during last weekend’s TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa, Lequien indicated they are hoping for conservative growth although stressed outside factors including increased shipping costs and reliability, Brexit and the war in Ukraine that could impact plans.

“If we had one [more] it would be good, and maybe two in 2024,” he said. “We will certainly go back to eight, but maybe not next year. There are so many parameters.

“We are suffering a lot with logistics in the world. If we do not take that into consideration, we are not serious people.

“Making a calendar and saying that next year we are going to do eight, nine… and in four months saying we have agreed to modify the calendar and reduce to six: I’m sorry, it’s ridiculous.

“We really have to take into consideration that we are suffering a lot with the logistics. This is very serious. So I would prefer to secure the minimum of races instead of growing too fast. Then we have to pay attention to the budgets of the teams, even for the car manufacturers.”

Lequien hinted that an additional race next year could be in Europe and has essentially ruled out a second event in the U.S. for 2023, despite talks with Roger Penske for a potential round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the future.

A return to China also appears unlikely for the short-term considering the country’s ‘Zero COVID’ policy that has resulted in ongoing lockdowns in major cities.

“Now, with the grid we are going to have, the announcements of different car manufacturers, we have some countries that really want to welcome the WEC,” Lequien said. “So it is going to be very difficult.

“Making a calendar is not only about marketing for car manufacturers: it is also a question of, not business, but economy for the championship.

“We need to go to what I call historical races like Spa, maybe one day we come back to Silverstone, [in addition to maintaining] Monza and Le Mans. But then you also need to go to other regions in the world like Japan and Bahrain. One thing is for sure, we would never have more than ten races.”

Lequien added: “I am sorry to say that the world is crazy, not only for us. I’m getting mad because the problem is not only about money, it’s about reliability.

“If you say to someone that you have to pay twice but you will arrive on time… that was a decision, but now it does not work like this.

“We are working on solutions that can bring us some safety in terms of transportation, to make sure that we leave on time and arrive on time.

“The idea to add two more races next season is not impossible, but we have to take into consideration also. There are so many parameters.”

WEC, DHL “Working Very Hard” on Fuji Return

The championship’s return to Fuji Speedway in September is going ahead as planned, with Lequien squashing paddock rumors that have indicated otherwise.

“We want to go,” he said. “I’m not saying it will happen 100 percent, but let’s say 95 or 99 percent. We are working very hard.

“We did a meeting with DHL yesterday and we are working on a solution to secure the transportation to ensure that first, we will be on time for Fuji and then on time coming to Bahrain and then coming back to Europe.

Lequien explained that the WEC is working to have a dedicated boat for the WEC freight that will travel from Europe to Japan and then onto Bahrain.  

“I want to secure the route first,” he said. “We don’t want a situation where the boat is stopping everywhere.

“Today, you cannot imagine the time we spend on the logistics matter.

“One year and a half ago, when I arrived in the company, I was not participating in these types of discussions. Now there are all sorts of issues.

“In the past, if a team was light it was possible to put everything in an aircraft. Now, with the situation of the war in Ukraine, the possibility to do air freight is reduced to the minimum. We cannot work with Russian companies. And Antonov, which was Ukrainian.”

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

Click to comment

More in FIA WEC