The tail end of the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar has been revised and released today amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In the new provisional schedule, the 6 Hours of Spa is pushed back from April to Aug.15, and the cancelled 1000 Miles of Sebring from last month is replaced with a second 8-hour race in Bahrain on Nov. 21. This means that the 2020-21 season will become a calendar-year season, which will start next March “at the earliest.” Calendar-year seasons are also expected to be the norm, going forward.
“The evolution of this global health crisis has left us with little choice,” said Gerard Neveu, CEO of the WEC. “It is today impossible to consider organizing an international motorsport event before the summer, so we have rearranged the calendar accordingly while keeping the same number of events on the schedule.
“However, we must be prepared for some big changes for next season because we will have to incorporate many parameters, starting with the inevitable economic difficulties that are to come.
“For the time being our overriding concern is for everyone’s good health, and we hope that everyone will take good care of themselves and their loved ones in the weeks to come.”
Neveu added that the LMDh regulations have also been delayed in the FIA WEC – and therefore globally – until 2022, rather than September 2021 as previously announced. “It makes sense for us to be in line with IMSA’s calendar now,” Neveu said.
The start time for the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours, now scheduled for Sept. 19-20, has also been brought forward to 2:30 p.m. local time. ACO President Pierre Fillon says all the announced changes have been made to limit the effects of the current crisis.
“To ensure the quality and fairness of this championship, this year it is necessary to depart from the 24 Hours of Le Mans, scheduled for September 19-20, being the ‘Super Finale’ of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship,” he added. “This modification to the current FIA WEC has been established with full transparency and with the understanding of all concerned. Once again, the priority is to ensure the good performance of our championships by limiting as far as possible the effects of this crisis.
“Furthermore, the start of the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans will be at 14:30 (local time). This time has been decided upon with our partners, notably TV, and with our competitors.”
No current provisional calendar has yet been set for the following season, as “only Super Sebring and Le Mans are certain in 2021,” Neveu said. It is expected, however, that Sebring will launch the 2021 season.
For more information about race postponements and cancellations across world motorsport, as well as updates for those holding tickets for affected events, click here.