On August 30th, the time will come for the first ever FIA WEC race in Germany. It is a moment which Audi and Porsche have waited for, the chance to race in front of their home crowed. However it may be the case that there will not be a race in Germany again next season.
Last year, the WEC signed a contract to host the inaugural 6 Hours of the Nürburgring. It is a joint venture between the two operators, which distributes earnings and the cost of the event by 50 percent to both parties. However in an interview with WEC boss, Gerard Neveu has stated that the contract is only valid for 2015.
The future of the Nürburgring is more critical then ever. The unclear financial situation at the circuit has recently lead to the cancellation of the German Formula 1 race this year. With a headline event in the Grand Prix already gone, the Nürburgring now has all of its hopes for a successful 2015 on the WEC. Although Neveu has insisted the race will defiantly go ahead this season, he still says there will be no guarantee for next season.
This puts a lot of pressure on the WEC event in Germany this year. Neveu has stated that the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring must be an immediate success if the event is to continue in the future. If this years race is not a success and has an attendance similar to that which has lead to the failure of Formula 1 at the circuit, for now, this could be the first and last WEC race in Germany.
To ensure that the event is a success, the WEC is working together with its key partners. In addition to the owners of the Nürburgring, FIA, ACO, ADAC and DMSB, representatives from Audi, Porsche and Toyota are all involved in the planning of the event. Together, their aim is to make the event attractive to all. Tickets of the Sunday race day are for sale from €30. There is also expected to be live music from various artists to star at the event, as well as a strong support package. However the other championships are still unknown. The orginal target of the ADAC GT Masters failed early in negotiations last year.
Germany only get one chance to keep the WEC in their country. A large number of countires have shown great interest in hosting a round of the championship. However in order to keep costs down for the teams, the calendar is limited to eight races. Next season, Brazil will return to the calendar and be part of the first ever 9 round WEC season. Whether or not Germany will continue to be a part of the WEC’s calendar in 2016 remains unknown, and entirely in the hands of the fans. In the past, Gerard Neveu has made clear that the WEC is only interested in countries where the series is also desirable.
The list of destinations interested in the WEC is getting ever longer with interest from Russia, Mexico, Canada, South America and Qatar. The Nürburgring is up against stiff competition if it wants to hold onto its slot for 2016.
Images: Walter Schruff (WEC Magazin)