In a well-managed professional manner Gerard Neveu and Pierre Fillon have done a superb job to address rumours and speculation with regards to the future of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in challenging times. There has always been much discussion with regards to the role of the Le Mans 24-hours in a World Championship, we doubt that anyone would have guessed the solution was to have two Le Mans in one season! But that is precisely what has been concluded in the proposed calendar for 2018 through 2019.
This proposal is being put forward to alter the running of the WEC from a Western European Summer Championship to a Winter one with the iconic Classic as its future finale. In the midst of all this is an opportunity to return to Sebring with two 12-hour races, one for IMSA WeatherTech Championship, the other for the WEC.
For 2018-19 the provisional season (subject to World Council ratification) is as follows:
|4 & 5 May||Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard (France) *|
|5 & 6 April 2018||WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)|
|16 & 17 June||24 Heures du Mans (France)|
|13 & 14 October||6 Hours of Fuji (Japan)|
|3 & 4 November||6 Hours of Shanghai (China)|
|February 2019||Country and race to be confirmed|
|15 & 16 March 2019||12 Sebring Hours (USA) **|
|3 & 4 May 2019||WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)|
|15 & 16 June 2019||24 Hours of Le Mans (France)|
* The Prologue of the Paul Ricard Circuit will offer the teams the chance to conduct complete endurance simulations of 36 hours in order to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
** The 12 Hours of Sebring will be combined with the US IMSA WeatherTech Championship endurance championship, as two separate races to be held on Saturday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (IMSA WeatherTech), followed by the FIA WEC from midnight to midday Sunday!
It is proposed that this 18-month, two-seasons in one will be conducted for an indentical budget to 2017. Projections suggest that a team engaged in the LMP2 category will participate in the WEC with a budget identical to 2016, which is a estimated 20% reduction on current figures.
The new ‘winter’ calendar format, will reduce the number of races to 8 in 2018-2019 (over an 18 months) and then to 7 in 2019-2020, which is expected to be the new staple for this FIA Championship. This facilitates logistics by sea rather than air which should deliver a three-fold reduction in transportation costs.