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WEC Targeting Ninth Round for 2020-21 Season

FIA World Endurance Championship targeting return to nine rounds in 2020-21…

Photo: Porsche

The FIA World Endurance Championship could return to a nine-round calendar in 2020-21, with an additional event being targeted in the second part of the season, according to series boss Gerard Neveu.

The WEC, which released next season’s provisional schedule last weekend, will feature an eight-round championship in 2019-20, kicking off at Silverstone and concluding at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The first full ‘reverse’ calendar sees events every month from September 2019 through June 2020, except for January and April, which Neveu said could be areas for expansion. 

“In 2021, if we can add one race, it will not be at the beginning of the first part of the season because we have one per month,” he said. “It would happen at the beginning of the year. Between January-April.

“If you consider we’d like to avoid clashes with Daytona and Sebring, we have options.”

The series was run as nine-round championship in 2016-17 with the addition of a round in Mexico City (pictured above).

While transportation costs were partially subsidized the first year, a number of teams voiced concerns on the increased costs associated with a ninth round.

Neveu said he’s already been in discussions with circuits for the additional event, which could result in a slight re-organization of the second half of the calendar to ensure efficient logistics.

He revealed they had the possibility to place the Six Hours of Sao Paulo in an April date for 2020 although instead opted for the first weekend of February.

Its new deal with Interlagos is a two-year contract with an option for a third season.

“The calendar, you have a strong structure,” Neveu said. “We know we have to start in September and finish by Le Mans 24. After that, we are free to adapt every year.

“We can decide because after one year, will we go back to Sebring? We don’t know.

“How is Sao Paulo going to run in February? We don’t know. We’ll learn from that and after that we will decide.”

Options for Sebring Future

Neveu said it’s the WEC’s “wish” to have a long-term future at Sebring, although he’s stressed that that it’s dependent on the success of next year’s event.

Sebring is currently listed as a to-be-confirmed round on the 2019-20 calendar.

“We put Sebring [on the provisional calendar] because the wish is to stay at Sebring,” Neveu said.

“This is fair to say, ‘to-be-confirmed’ because we need to have some [conditions] after the first event. At this moment the plan is to go to Sebring.

“We have to race first in 2019. If it works well, if the paddock is happy, we normally have a commitment to say that it’s for several years.

“If one of the parities is not happy, we have the possibility to say it’s for one year and no more.”

Should it decide not to return to Sebring, Neveu said they would replace the round with another race, ideally in North America, as the logistics plan has already been completed for the 2019-20 season.

Neveu ruled out having an event at the Florida airfield circuit the week before or after IMSA’s 12-hour race.

“We go to Sebring if it’s during the 12-hour meeting or we will [find] another place,” he said.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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