The FIA WEC’s 2020/21 calendar has been released today at the Bahrain International Circuit. It features eight rounds, two of them at new circuits, for what will be the debut season for the Le Mans Hypercar category.
New for the 2020/21 season are races at Italy’s Monza and South Africa’s Kyalami. Neither circuit has featured on the WEC calendar for races before, though Monza played host to the 2017 pre-season Prologue test (pictured). With the calendar not expanding to nine rounds, two have been dropped from the current schedule, the races at Shanghai and Circuit of The Americas (which originally was scheduled to be run at Interlagos in 2020).
The season will start at Silverstone, for a pre-season test using a similar two-day format to the test in Barcelona this year. The test will be held a lot later than this year, running from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1. This “will give the Hypercar teams more time to prepare for the season,” championship CEO Gerard Neveu said in the press conference announcing the calendar. Round 1 will then be held at Silverstone a week later.
Silverstone’s race returns to a 6-hour format once again, and will be held on the Saturday, running into the evening. “This will allow fans to watch the F1 race at Monza (a clashing weekend) on the Sunday and enjoy entertainment in the evening at the circuit,” Neveu said. It will be a doubleheader once again with the European Le Mans Series, which will hold its four-hour race on the Sunday.
The WEC will then head to Monza for another six-hour encounter. This round has been added, according to Neveu, at the request of the teams. He pointed out that there are multiple Italian teams and drivers in the championship who will enjoy the chance to race at the Italian GP venue and that it is likely to be well-supported by fans. “You will remember how many fans came just for the Prologue test!” he noted.
After that the championship will head to Asia for races in Fuji and Bahrain, before traveling to the revamped Kyalami circuit in February 2021.
“We looked into Kyalami the moment we heard it was being revamped,” Neveu said. “It’s a place with a lot of heritage, which has been reborn. I was present at the IGTC race with my good friend Stephane Ratel recently and was very impressed with the facility.”
The run to the finale at Le Mans on June 12-13 will once again feature races at Sebring (1000 miles, as part of a doubleheader with IMSA) and the traditional 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps.
“What better way to usher in the new era of Le Mans Hypercars than with this excellent 2020-21 calendar,” commented Pierre Fillon, the ACO president. “Reflecting an ever-evolving automotive industry, the WEC continues to present automotive manufacturers with an ideal showcase for their products, and even more so as we look towards the future and the introduction of different renewable energy platforms.”
2020-2021 FIA World Endurance Championship provisional calendar*
Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 2020, Pre-Season Test, Silverstone (Great Britain)
Sept. 5, 2020, 6 Hours of Silverstone (Great Britain)
Oct. 4, 2020, 6 Hours of Monza (Italy)
Nov. 1, 2020, 6 Hours of Fuji (Japan)
Dec. 5, 2020, 8 Hours of Bahrain
Feb. 6, 2021, 6 Hours of Kyalami (South Africa)
March 19, 2021, 1000 Miles of Sebring (8 hours) (USA)
April 24, 2021, 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
June 12-13, 2021, 24 Hours of Le Mans (France)
* Subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, which meets next in March 2020