The FIA World Endurance Championship is working to avoid a potential clash with the FIA GT World Cup event in Macau next year, with the date of its race in Shanghai still in flux, according to WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
While releasing the provisional 2019-20 calendar on Friday, with the Four Hours of Shanghai listed for Nov. 17, Neveu said the event could be moved up by one week to Nov. 10, should the traditional date for Macau get confirmed.
WEC races have clashed with the World Cup event since its inaugural running in 2015.
The clash has caused a headache particularly for GT manufacturers that not have been able to utilize its WEC-nominated factory drivers or teams for the one-off event.
“We’re paying attention to what’s happening in Asia in the same period,” Neveu said.
“We understand Macau should be confirmed on the 17th. If that’s the case, and if we can avoid a conflict with Macau, it could be a good idea.
“We will make a decision in the coming days. We have an option for the 10th or 17th [for Shanghai] but it will be the middle of November.”
This year’s Macau race will clash with the WEC’s trip to China, following previous date conflicts with its season finale in Bahrain from 2015-17.
“We are connected with the FIA and the FIA also has an event in Macau,” Neveu said.
“This is unusual as we are communicating a calendar that’s one-and-a-half years in advance. All the other calendars are not published so we have to wait and finalize in the next few months.”
Neveu: “No Other Option” for Continued Fuji Clash with Petit Le Mans
While one conflict may be alleviated, Neveu indicated that he had “no other option” for its Six Hours of Fuji date, which will again clash with the Motul Petit Le Mans for the second consecutive year.
The two events are set to again take place on the Oct. 12-13 weekend in 2019.
Neveu said that a date change from IMSA, which moved its 10-hour season finale to the second week of October this year, has left the WEC with no other scheduling options amid a packed month of international racing in Japan.
“For many, many years, [IMSA] raced on the first weekend of October for 20 years. Always,” Neveu said.
“We set up the program. Suddenly they changed the calendar because there is a college football game in Atalanta on the first weekend of October.
“I’m sorry but I cannot take into consideration the college football season in America.
“If any reason the football changes the date and Petit Le Mans has to change… it’s impossible.”
Neveu refuted claims that the clash with one of IMSA’s premier endurance races is intentional.
“It’s not that I want to clash; it’s impossible to organize in Japan two international events in the same weekend,” he said.
“I have no choice because I need to have a gap for the transportation from Europe to Japan. I need to have a gap for Japan and China and Formula 1 is in Japan in the same period.
“We have no interest to clash with anybody. This is not the style of the ACO.”
A potential third clash with an international sports car race could also be in the cards, with the WEC’s return to Sao Paulo confirmed for Feb. 1, 2020, the same traditional weekend of the Bathurst 12 Hour.
It’s understood, however, that the date for the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge is not yet finalized.