Fuji WEC round cancelled, Bahrain becomes double-header

The FIA World Endurance Championship has cancelled its Fuji round for a second year in a row, replacing it with a second fixture in Bahrain.

Fuji WEC round cancelled, Bahrain becomes double-header

Japan's ongoing travel restrictions amid the global health crisis ultimately made the Fuji race, scheduled for 26 September, untenable.

Instead, the WEC will now visit Bahrain for a double-header after a two-month break following the Le Mans 24 Hours, with two races in successive weekends pencilled in for 30 October and 6 November.

The first of the two races in Bahrain will be a six-hour event, while the existing eight-hour season finale originally set for November 20 has been brought forward by two weeks.

WEC boss Frederic Lequien said: "Regrettably we have been left with no choice but to cancel our Japanese leg of the world championship due to continuing difficulties with the pandemic, including travel restrictions and logistical issues. 

"We have instead decided to replace Fuji with another race in Bahrain, which we firmly believe is the safest option for everyone."

He added that he is "confident that a double-header in Bahrain is an ideal solution in the current climate". 

The announcement of the double-header on Wednesday follows comments from Lequien at last month's Portimao 8 Hours WEC round that any new fixture in the event of Fuji being cancelled would likely be in Europe.

#1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13: Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani, Bruno Senna

#1 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-13: Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani, Bruno Senna

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Both Lequien and Pierre Fillon, president of WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, thanked the Fuji circuit for its efforts to save the race. 

There is an intent for the WEC to return to the Japanese track in the future, Lequien stressed.  

Bahrain International Circuit chief executive Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said: “It is a great pleasure for us to be able to host two rounds of WEC. 

"Over the last few months, we have demonstrated our ability to host several major international events in a safe manner and we thank WEC for showing their faith in us yet again.”

Bahrain hosted back-to-back grands prix at the end of last season after major revisions to the Formula 1 calendar. 

It is a candidate to host another additional race this year in the light of uncertainty over further F1 rounds in the wake of this week's cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.

The Japanese GP at Suzuka scheduled for October 10 is among the races in doubt. MotoGP has already cancelled its Motegi fixture set for 3 October.

Fuji, which has been on the WEC calendar since the rebirth of the series in 2012, and was due to host round three of the 2020/21 series in November of last year.

The COVID pandemic subsequently forced major revisions to the 2019/20 fixtures and the WEC to revert to a traditional schedule spanning a single calendar year for the current season.

Revised 2021 WEC schedule:

Date Venue/Race
1 May  6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
13 June Portugal 8 Hours of Portimao
18 July Italy 6 Hours of Monza
21-22 August  24 Hours of Le Mans
30 October  Bahrain Race 1
6 November  Bahrain Race 2
shares
comments

Related video

Peugeot reveals first images of radical 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar

Previous article

Peugeot reveals first images of radical 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar

Next article

Hirakawa: Toyota WEC hypercar test tougher than I imagined

Hirakawa: Toyota WEC hypercar test tougher than I imagined
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Plus

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak Plus

How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

The World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 HYBRID remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021