Addition of Mexican race takes WEC schedule to nine rounds
The 2016 World Endurance Championship calendar has today been revealed at Circuit of The Americas by Pierre Fillon, President of l’Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), and Gérard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship (FIA). Alongside the existing eight rounds that have become familiar to endurance racing fans around the world, an additional race will take place in Mexico, to be confirmed as the contract is still being finalised.
The 2016 schedule for the increasingly prestigious endurance series, a joint partnership between the FIA and the ACO, echoes that of 2015 plus the addition of the Mexican round, and will feature nine races in four continents. The 24 Hours of Le Mans continues to be the cornerstone of the championship, and all eight of the other rounds will be six-hour races. Two further significant points within the calendar are the reduction of the gap between races following the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, and the return to Latin America of the WEC.
The WEC is committed to paying special attention to guarantee that budgetary controls remain for the benefit of the constructors and other partners within the paddock.
“We believe that the time is right to expand the WEC, and the nine-race calendar for 2016 allows us to continue to build the tradition of 6-hour events in the countries we visit, some of which were not so familiar with endurance racing when we began in 2012,” said Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO. “Each year we return, the Spirit of Le Mans is more and more obvious, with increasing entertainment and sporting action for larger numbers of spectators and TV audiences to enjoy. Of course, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans is the race that everyone knows about and wants to compete in, but the legend is now being extended to the 6-hour races as well and moving into countries with strong historic links to endurance, such as Mexico City. We are very proud to have maintained the level of stability in the four years of the WEC, and we look forward to seeing you all in 2016.”
“The opportunity offered by Mexico City to take endurance racing back to Latin America was the right one at the right time,,” said Gérard Neveu, CEO of the WEC. “In consultation with our partners and competitors, we believe that the countries in which we race have all fully embraced endurance racing and that was one of the considerations for any further rounds. The WEC Promoter will be responsible for the full freight costs for competitors from Europe to Mexico so that there will not be any significant impact on their logistic budgets. Using the stability and consistency already in place with our other rounds, we will continue to ensure that the WEC continues to offer fans access to the most technologically relevant, competitive, and open championship possible. We are looking forward to welcoming Ford back to top level GTE racing in 2016, and we are confident that Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche are equally excited about their entry. We have worked with the teams and circuits to reduce the long summer gap following Le Mans, and this new calendar will keep the action going through the summer.”
As has become tradition, the 2016 season will start on the 25/26 March with The Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard in France for the official pre-season test. It is the first opportunity for media and fans, and indeed competitors, to see all the new season’s cars in one place including the top manufacturer hybrid entries from Audi, Porsche and Toyota, and all the other LMP1 privateer, LMP2 and GTE teams.
The opening race of the year will be the 6 Hours of Silverstone at the home of British motorsport, where entrants will compete for the celebrated Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy. The 2016 WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will be the fifth time that the Belgian round has taken place in early May. The race has become the traditional ‘dress rehearsal’ for teams and drivers in the lead up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
The 6 Hours of Nürburgring, which enjoyed a very successful introduction to the calendar this year, will once again be the fourth round of the WEC but in 2016 will take place on 24 July to reduce the length of time between races over the summer period.
As the championship moves into its second half of the season, the new, Mexican round on 04 September will be the first of five races overseas at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Lone Star Le Mans will once again be a joint race weekend with IMSA’s United Sports Car Championship. It will be followed by races in Fuji, Shanghai and the finale in Bahrain at the end of November.
2016 FIA World Endurance Championship Provisional Calendar**
25/26 March: The Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard, France
17 April: 6 Hours of Silverstone, GBR
07 May: WEC 6 Hours of Spa, BEL
05 June: 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day
18/19 June:24 Hours of Le Mans, FRA
24 July: 6 Hours of Nürburgring, DEU
04 September: 6 Hours of Mexico City, MEX (To Be Confirmed)
17 September: 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (Lone Star Le Mans), USA
16 October: 6 Hours of Fuji, JAP
06 November: 6 Hours of Shanghai, PRC
19 November: 6 Hours of Bahrain, UAE