With the FIA WEC Super Season starting next weekend, we’re here with our season preview of what promises to be an interesting campaign.
2018 and 2019 are two very important years for the World Endurance Championship; it’s a transitional season in more than one way. The first, and most important reason, is that the face of LMP1 has changed dramatically. 2017 saw the withdrawal of Porsche’s LMP1 entry, the ramifications of VW’s emissions scandal impacting the hugely successful 919. This leaves Toyota as the sole manufacturer in the WEC’s premier LMP1 class.
The second is that this is the longest season ever, with it having two runnings of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 2019/2020 season will start and run over the winter, with the 24 hour race being the curtain closer. However, to get to that point, the so-called “Super Season” is required. Starting in May 2018 for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, it runs until June 2019 where it finishes with the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
FIA WEC Super Season Resources
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- Official Website
- Live Timing
- Spotter Guide
- Official Instagram
- FIA WEC News
- tRL TV: FIA WEC Videos
The WEC sees one of its strongest driver line-ups ever. With no less than 23 current and former Formula One drivers, plus a raft of IndyCar drivers alongside many of the usual endurance race stars, the standard of racing should be exceptional this season.
Major calendar changes are in place to enable the Super Season to finish at Le Mans in 2019. Gone are the races at Mexico, Nurburgring, Austin and the traditional end of season race at Bahrain. In their places, both Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans get two races in one season. Meanwhile, over in America, top-flight prototype racing returns to Sebring for the first time since 2013. A double-header with ISMA and two endurance races in one weekend at the Florida circuit means a great weekend of racing come March 2019.
|5th May 2018||6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps||Belgium|
|16th/17th June 2018||24 Hours of Le Mans||France|
|19th August 2018||6 Hours of Silverstone||Britain|
|21st October 2018||6 Hours of Fuji||Japan|
|18th November 2018||6 Hours of Shanghai||China|
|16th/17th March||1,500 miles of Sebring||USA|
|4th May 2019||6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps||Belgium|
|15th/16th June 2019||24 Hours of Le Mans||France|
Hosting the opening round for the second time (as well as playing host to Round 7), Spa is famed as real drivers’ circuit. A great test of the cars before Le Mans, expect to see teams go different ways on many things as they prepare for the twice around the clock race in June.
The jewel in the WEC crown. Having first hosted the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 1923, the Circuit de la Sarthe plays host to Round 2 and Round 8 of the WEC 2018/2019 Super Season. Held on a mix of public roads and puprose-built race track, this is both the longest and the fastest track on the calendar. Points are worth 1.5x at both runnings, so a good result at this notoriously difficult track is vital.
Home of the British Grand Prix, Silverstone sees a summer race for 2018 having moved from its traditional April date. The 6 Hours of Silverstone was first held back in 1976 and became a part of the WEC schedule in 2012. A fast, sweeping circuit with only a few good passing places make this a difficult one to negotiate traffic (just ask Brendan Hartley).
A somewhat-neutered track after it’s brief dalliance Formula One, Fuji is now a very technical track. Located at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, the weather here is often wet and gloomy. The fans, however, are bright and enthusiastic regardless of the weather.
Originally purpose-built for Formula One, the WEC has been a fixture at the Chinese circuit since the inaugural WEC season back in 2012. Whilst not the best attended race on the calendar, the circuit tends to produce some excellent racing thanks to the 1km long back straight the the seemingly never-ending turn 1.
If Le Mans is the king of endurance racing circuits the Sebring is the prince. Sebring was the venue for the very first race of the then brand new FIA World Endurance Championship in March 2012. 2019 sees the return of the WEC at Sebring with a 1,500 mile event straight after IMSA’s 12 hour race – a huge logistical challenge.
The track is built on an airfield and is notoriously bumpy, especially round the last corner, up the start/finish line and into turn 1.
Join us tomorrow where we talk about the new-look LMP1 class.