The FIA World Endurance Championship calendar for the upcoming 2019/20 season was revealed today at Silverstone ahead of this weekend’s six-hour race at the British track.
Former WEC venues Sao Paulo and Bahrain (pictured) will return, as provisionally will Sebring for a second time after it was placed on the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ calendar.
The scheduled features eight races, on five continents, with new formats set to be used, starting at Silverstone in September 2019 with a four-hour race, and ending with the Le Mans 24 Hours in June 2020.
Other races have received a format change, with Shanghai also set to be a four-hour race instead of six like in years past, and the round at Bahrain in December set to be eight hours long.
Sebring (which has no specified date yet) will again be a 1,000-mile contest, while the races at Spa, Fuji and Sao Paolo will all be standard WEC six-hour races.
As of yet, there’s no information regarding a pre-season ‘Prologue’ test although there is expected to be a test before Silverstone for the teams, and a ‘Rookie Test’ after the Bahrain round in December, allowing up and coming drivers to get a taste of the series halfway through the season.
Almost inevitably, there are some key clashes with the proposed dates. The season opener at Silverstone looks set to clash with the Blancpain Endurance Cup finale at Nurburgring. The Shanghai round, meanwhile, is currently set to clash with the FIA GT World Cup at Macau, although it is understood that the Shanghai date is flexible. And Fuji looks certain to clash again with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship season finale, Petit Le Mans, for the second year in succession – a date far more fixed.
In 2020 the major issue looks to be the 6 Hours of Sao Paolo – it’s scheduled for February 1, which could clash with the ever-growing Bathurst 12 Hours, which usually features some WEC drivers and manufacturers. However, the date in Brazil has been chosen specifically to take advantage of a city-wide festival and its associated promotional opportunities.
The FIA WEC 2019-2020 calendar will be presented to the FIA Endurance Commission and will be submitted to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for approval in Paris in October.
“We are very happy to be able to present a calendar which not only offers a large degree of stability and familiarity, but also moves with the times and responds to the wishes of its many fans around the world,” said Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO).
“With the 24 Hours of Le Mans as its cornerstone, the WEC continues to offer access to the most competitive and open championship possible, as well as presenting our automotive manufacturers with the perfect showcase for their products.
“The revisions to the race formats may echo endurance events of the past, but we never stop looking towards the future to ensure a sustainable, relevant and exciting championship. The dawn of the new-look WEC calendar will rise in Silverstone in September 2019 and we can’t wait!”
“Our fans spoke, we listened and have reacted,” added Gerard 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.”
2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship Provisional Calendar:
September 1, 2019 4 Hours of Silverstone (Great Britain)
October 13, 2019 6 Hours of Fuji (Japan)
November 3, 2019 4 Hours of Shanghai (China)
December 14, 2019 8 Hours of Bahrain
February 1, 2020 6 Hours of Sao Paulo (Brazil)
March 2020 1000 Miles of Sebring (8 hours) (Sebring, Fla.)
May 3, 2020 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
June 13-14, 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans (France)
Subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council