L&T Motorsport

Fixing the WEC Part 2: The Calendar

A lot of news has been released regarding the WEC lately, perhaps the most talked about item is the “Super Season,” coming for the 2018/2019 Championships. And a familiar stop has been added to the calendar. Sebring is back for the first time since the inaugural season in 2012.

Unlike the 2012 which combined the American Le Mans series with the WEC, the race that will take place in March 2019 will be separate from USA’s IMSA series and will immediately follow the traditional twelve hours of Sebring.

The other significant change is a transition to a winter calendar. Here is the provisional race schedule for the Super Season:

2018/19*

No, your eye’s do not deceive you. There are two rounds at Spa, two at Le Mans, and no Silverstone* on the schedule at the moment.

Super…

But let’s start with the positives. The transition to a winter calendar start with Le Mans as the final round is a necessary move. Although the race at Le Mans itself does not need anything added to enhance its importance, the series greatly benefits from having a worthy finale.

12h Sebring 2013

Pictured: A pair of Audi’s leads the field at the WEC’s only trip to the track in 2012. 

Adding variety to the race lengths is also a huge plus, and what better stop than perhaps the second most historic endurance racing ground than Sebring? The choppy bumpy track will beat up the cars used to smooth Formula 1 quality tracks and should provide an opportunity for an unpredictable result.

We need more variety like this in the calendar. Less tracks absent of character and less plug and play 6 hour rounds. Would love to see a two to three-hour street circuit round and better tracks. One of the elements of Formula E that has attributed to its relative success is the city-centered races. It’s a rather simple idea, selecting a track within a built in metropolitan population will draw fans through the turnstiles boosting the WEC’s exposure. Long Beach or Las Vegas anyone? Yes please!

Indy Long Beach

Pictured: Grand Prix of Long Beach. The city contemplated hosting Formula 1. Already host to IMSA’s Sports Cars, could the track accommodate the WEC? With the proximity of Los Angeles county’s 10 million inhabitants, the level of attention the event could draw would boost the exposure of the series significantly. 

Filling the February 2019 round could give us a hint at the future of the WEC. Will the powers at be select a recycled track like Bahrain or Interlagos or go with a new location? Always been fond of the Turkey Circuit and Abu Dabi. But the fans in Brazil have a passion for racing and may be more deserving.

Also there is no reason Silverstone should not be on the schedule* once the transition has been complete. The track is at the epicenter of the racing fan base and culture. Fans should not be deprived of the English round. FIA officials say Silverstone will most likely be the location for the February 2019 race*, but nothing is guaranteed.

WEC LMP1 Silverstone Snow

Pictured: Snowfall on pratice day before the 2016 WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone. The potential February race date would make a chance of snow much more likely than if it were held on the traditional April race date.

In our opinion, the quality of the sport is not being reflected in the number of fans in the stands and something needs to be done to fix this. Let’s mix it up! If there are rounds that are poorly attended they should be replaced with something new. The sport needs to grow, doing the same thing year after year will only yield the same result.

The Super Season, although an odd solution at pivotal time, is a step in the right direction. But will the WEC have the confidence to bet on itself and the courage to take the next step? The survival of the series is at stake… it’s time to go all in.

*Shortly after posting, news came in Silverstone has now been added to the 2018/19 calendar with an August 2018 date. Looking like more of the same tracks in the WEC rotation for now, sadly.

-Read more of our series on fixing the WEC here: Part 1

Rob Carlson

Enthusiastic San Diego based petrol head with a BS in Business Management.

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