The FIA World Endurance Championship has announced a provisional calendar for the completion of the 2019/20 campaign, with the season now set to end at a newly added Bahrain round in November.
The season will now resume with the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, which has been moved back and will now take place on August 15th. The previously postponed 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held next on 19-20th of September.
To make up for the cancellation of the 1000 Miles of Sebring, a new season finale has been added, with the 8 Hours of Bahrain now scheduled to close Season 8 on November 21st. The championship stresses that this calendar is not final and subject to further change.
“It should be understood, of course, that this calendar is subject to further change according to the evolution of the current health crisis, or because of the calendars of other FIA World Championships,” the WEC wrote in a statement.
Furthermore, the championship has confirmed that the proposed calendar for Season 9, which was intended to kick off at Silverstone this September, will see significant changes and likely not kick off before March 2021. After this, the series will most likely revert to a calendar year format, bringing an end to the winter format that the championship had adopted for the past two years.
The calendar shift has also brought delays to the planned introduction of the Le Mans Hypercar and LMDh categories. The LMH debut, which was scheduled for September, will be pushed back to March 2021 while LMDh will debut at the start of the 2022 IMSA campaign and making their WEC debut later in the same year.
“The evolution of this global health crisis has left us with little choice,” said Gerard Neveu, WEC CEO. “It is today impossible to consider organising 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.”
“An exceptional decision for an exceptional situation,” added Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. “In the context of what we are all going through now, the reprogramming of the WEC’s Season 8 calendar required certain adjustments in concert with our different partners, competitors and host circuits.
However, 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 19/20th September, being the Super Finale of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship. 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 14h30 (local time) on 19th September. This time has been decided upon with our partners, notably TV, and with our competitors.”