Friday, 1 September 2017

FIA WEC: New completely revised 2018/2019 calendar announced


At a highly anticipated press conference in Mexico City today, ACO president Pierre Fillion and FIA WEC & LMEM CEO Gérard Neveu announced some major changes for the FIA World Endurance Championship in the near future. 

Announcements were made both on a completely revised schedule and some major changes in the LMP1 technical and sporting regulations. 



Let's look at the revised schedule first. The new schedule for the 2018/19 season has been announced as a "Super Season" and will run from Spa 2018 to Le Mans 2019, including 2 races on the iconic Belgian track and a doubleheader at Le Mans. It will lose however the season opening race at Silverstone and the 6 hours of the Nürburgring, Mexico, COTA and Bahrain.

The return of Sebring to the new schedule will be highly anticipated in the USA though, after running the opening race of the World Endurance Championship there in 2012 in front of a huge crowd. The 12 Hours of Sebring will be a combined event with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship but two separate races will be held.  The IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring will be run on Saturday from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm. The FIA WEC 12 Hours of Sebring will be run from Sunday midnight to Sunday 12 noon.  Racing into the light instead of racing into the dark, this will be very exciting ! 


One race is still to be announced, scheduled for February 2019. 

This transition season will include the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps twice and, even better, a double header of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With the new format of calendar, the number of races will be reduced from 9 in 2017 to 8 in 2018/2019 (over 18 months) then to 7 in 2019/2020 which is expected to be the ‘cruising speed’ for the WEC into the future.

This is the provisional schedule for the 2018/2019 season: 

April 05-06 2018: The Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard (FRA)               
May 04-05 2018: 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)
Juni 16-17 2018: 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)
October 13-14 2018: 6 Hours of Fuji (JPN)
November 03-04 2018: 6 Hours of Shanghai (CHN)
February 2019:  and event TBC
March 15-16 2019: 12 Hours of Sebring (USA) 
May 3-4 2019: 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)
June 15-16 2019: 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)

After 1 year in Monza, the prologue returns to Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet (France), but also in a tweaked format.  It will offer teams the opportunity to complete 36-hour endurance testing in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The provisional 2018/2019 calendar, which remains subject to validation by the FIA World Motors Sport Council, will see four races taking place in 2018 and four in 2019 as part of an 18-month “Super Season” - for the same budget as in 2017. 

According to provisional calculations, in 2019/2020 an LMP2 team will run in the WEC with a budget similar to 2016; meaning 20% less than now. With the new format of calendar, the number of races will be reduced from 9 in 2017 to 8 in 2018/2019 (over 18 months) then to 7 in 2019/2020 which is expected to be the ‘cruising speed’ for the WEC into the future.

This reduction automatically results in a cost reduction for the teams (entry fees, running costs, consumables etc) but also allows for new logistics to be used: using shipping rather than flying freight meaning that transportation costs are divided by three.

More announcements have been made about the future LMP1 regulations in the FIA World Endurance Racing. We'll report on those separately.


Kristof Vermeulen.


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