Next season sees the FIA WEC face arguably the greatest challenge since its re-inception in 2012, with the loss of Porsche from the LMP1 fold leaving only one competing manufacturer in LMP1 and evidently no takers for the 2020 ruleset announced at Le Mans.
Somewhat forced into a corner by Porsche’s withdrawal, the ACO have put together a radically different calendar that is set to turn the world of endurance on its head. Now, the rough roadmap for the WEC’s future is slowly beginning to take shape. The first step came yesterday, with the calendar for the new Super Season in 2018/19 being officially ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
The 2018/19 Super Season will encompass a whole calendar year and two trips to Spa and Le Mans respectively, as well as a return to Sebring International Raceway for the 1500 Miles of Sebring on the same weekend as the famed 12 Hours of Sebring, which is part of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. Silverstone also returns to the WEC calendar, after initially being left out. It has been reinstated in a new late-August slot.
Minor changes were also made to the 6 Hours of Fuji and 6 Hours of Shanghai to avoid clashes with other series, most notably the Fuji race’s clash with the climax to the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship at its 10-hour Petit Le Mans enduro at Road Atlanta.
|6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps||5 May 2018|
|24 Hours of Le Mans||16-17 June 2018|
|6 Hours of Silverstone||19 August 2018|
|6 Hours of Fuji||21 October 2018|
|6 Hours of Shanghai||18 November 2018|
|1500 Miles of Sebring||16-17 March 2019|
|6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps||4 May 2019|
|24 Hours of Le Mans||15-16 June 2019|
The FIA’s top-level committee also approved a number of changes to the technical regulations, including the “incorporation of LMP1 Non-Hybrid cars into a single classification with the LMP1 Hybrid car” and equalising performance between non-hybrids and hybrids in LMP1.
With no manufacturers or privateers yet to officially commit to LMP1 from 2018/19, but with several programmes in the pipeline, it remains to be seen whether the new FIA WEC Super Season will make or break the top category of prototype racing.
Image (c) WEC-Magazin / Walter Schruff