With changes to race lengths plus the return of Sao Paulo and Bahrain, the 2019-2020 calendar for the World Endurance Championship looks somewhat different to what we’re used to.
The calendar for the next season of the FIA World Endurance Championship was released this morning and features several exciting changes following the extensive fan survey carried out by the ACO in 2017. Possibly the most significant difference is that the non-Le Mans rounds are no longer all standard, six-hour races. The calendar will feature four, six, eight and a 1000 mile race, on top of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Kicking off in September 2019, the season will start at its pre-Super Season traditional location – Silverstone. However, unlike previous years, this race will now be a four-hour event held on the 1st of September. We then move through the Asian rounds, with the 6 Hours of Fuji in October and the 4 Hours of Shanghai in November, before rounding out 2019 with the 8 Hours of Bahrain in December. The WEC last raced in Bahrain in 2017, and the circuit is a welcome addition to the calendar.
After a break over the winter, the season starts up again at another returner to the schedule: the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo in February, before heading to the States for the 1000 Miles of Sebring (roughly 8 hours) in March. The 6 Hours of Spa remains in its usual spot in May, as the preparation round for June’s season finale – Le Mans.
The basis for a lot of these changes appears to be the large fun survey carried out by the ACO in 2017.
“Our fans spoke, we listened and have reacted,” said Gérard Neveu, CEO of the WEC. “Naturally we have had a period of consultation with our partners and competitors, and we believe that this new calendar will meet their expectations and requirements as well as please the fans who are so important to us all. Our aim is to introduce an additional round to the 2020-2021 calendar so that there is more or less an event every month to help maintain interest.”
Teams and media will no doubt be combing through this provisional calendar as well as calendars for other series that have already been announced. There’s the possibility of the Le Mans test clashing with the Nurburgring 24 Hours, and the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo clashing with the hugely popular Bathurst 12 Hour in 2020.
— Midweek Motorsport (@specutainment) August 17, 2018
The full provisional calendar is as follows:
01 September 2019 – 4 Hours of Silverstone
13 October 2019 – 6 Hours of Fuji
17 November 2019 – 4 Hours of Shanghai
14 December 2019 – 8 Hours of Bahrain
01 February 2020 – 6 Hours of Sao Paulo
March 2020 – 1000 Miles of Sebring
03 May 2020 – 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
13-14 June 2020 – 24 Hours of Le Mans