The new FIA World Endurance Championship will be fought out over eight rounds next year.
The world championship, which has grown out of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, is effectively increasing from seven to eight races with the addition of an event in the Middle East. The October date in Bahrain joins two races each on the European, American and Asian continents that form the WEC around the Le Mans 24 Hours.
WEC general manager Gerard Neveau said: "The possibility was there to go to the Middle East and we should not forget that some of our teams consider it very important because their sponsors or partners come from there."
The WEC will start, as already announced, with the Sebring 12 Hours in March. The British fixture at Silverstone moves forward from September to August after which the championship will visit Interlagos in Brazil, which means there is no place on the calendar for Petit Le Mans in the US.
Neveau explained that taking the WEC to South America and Japan were the two main targets in 2012 for the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which promotes the championship. The Japanese date will be taken by Fuji, which is owned by Toyota.
The series will climax in China with a round at either Zhuhai or Shanghai.
2012 WEC calendar March 17 Sebring 12 Hours (USA) May 5 Spa 6 Hours (B) June 16-17 Le Mans 24 Hours (F) August 25 Silverstone 6 Hours (GB) September 16 Interlagos (BR) September 30 Fuji 6 Hours (J) October 20 Bahrain 6 Hours (BH) November 11/18 China (TBC)