WEC targets six-race 2021 calendar

The World Endurance Championship is targeting a reduced, six-race calendar for the 2021 season

WEC targets six-race 2021 calendar

The FIA and series promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest have explained that they need to reduce the number of championship rounds from the current eight in light of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

FIA president Jean Todt said at last weekend's Spa round of the current championship: "Next year we should in the WEC have about six races including the Le Mans 24 Hours.

"For a championship that is the minimum."

The rules for the WEC state that there must be at least six races, including Le Mans.

ACO president Pierre Fillon and WEC boss Gerard Neveu stressed the need to reduce costs as the effects of the world health crisis bite.

"At this time we have the virus and we have to reduce the costs for everybody, and the target is to have six races," said Fillon.

Neveu added: "We are trying to adapt the calendar to the economic and world situation.

"It was clear and logical that we have to reduce the number of races from our discussions with the manufacturers and the teams.

"There is a number [of races] we will not go under and another number we will not go over because it would be too expensive in the current situation."

The confirmation that there will be a reduced calendar follows comments from Neveu in April stating that fewer than eight races was a possibility.

He said he would be "crazy and arrogant" to predict that the WEC could maintain an eight-race schedule at that time.

Fillon and Neveu insisted that it remains the intent for the WEC to continue to visit three continents, the minimum laid down in FIA statutes for a world championship.

But they stressed that it is impossible at the moment to make any firm decisions because of limitations on international travel as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.

"We will have to wait a little bit more time for the calendar because we don't have the visibility," said Neveu.

He re-iterated a desire for the 2021 WEC to kick off with the Sebring 1000 Miles on the bill of the US venue's 12-hour round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship next March.

"The plan now is to visit Sebring, there is no question of our intent," he told Autosport.

"But if you ask us if we are ready to go tomorrow, it is impossible regarding the current situation."

Neveu said in April that the only givens on the calendar at that time were Sebring and Le Mans in its traditional mid-June date.

The first WEC race outside of Europe is the 2019-20 season finale in Bahrain scheduled for 21 November.

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