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WEC will not revert to eight-round calendar in 2022

The World Endurance Championship will not revert to its traditional eight-race schedule next year in the face of the on-going COVID pandemic, series bosses have revealed. 

Start of the race, #36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine 480 Gibson: Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere leads

Start of the race, #36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine 480 Gibson: Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere leads

JEP / Motorsport Images

Pierre Fillon, president of WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, and series CEO Frederic Lequien believe that 2022 will be too early to run eight races again.

They stated that the WEC will either remain at the reduced schedule of six events introduced for 2021 as a result of the COVID pandemic or go up by one to seven races.

"Due to the COVID situation and the economic situation related to COVID, I think it is too early to imagine to come back to eight races," said Fillon. 

"I think it will be six and seven; we are discussing that."

Fillon and Lequien suggested that any additional race would be in Europe. 

Lequien said: "It is not only a question of budget; it is a question of making the calendar safe because of travel restrictions."

Asked whether Silverstone, which hosted a WEC round every year between 2012 and 2019, could make a return, Fillon said: "Everything is open — Silverstone is a fantastic place."

He added that he doesn't foresee travel complications caused by Brexit being an obstacle to the Silverstone WEC fixture being revived.

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Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The Algarve circuit near Portimao, which hosted last weekend's second round of the 2021 series, is also a candidate for the possible additional race.

"It is a very good place, a nice track; the drivers love this place, and it's in Europe," said Fillon.

The original 2021 calendar was made up of three races in Europe and three outside of Europe, including the Sebring 1000 Miles set for March. 

The US event was cancelled and replaced by the Portimao fixture, which was due to take place in early April before its postponement to last weekend.

An intention to return to Sebring next year was outlined by the WEC on the cancellation of this year's event.

The calendar of the current iteration of the WEC has been made up of eight races in all bar two of the eight seasons prior to the current campaign.

This included the so-called 'superseason' in 2018/19 that encompassed two editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours. 

The WEC briefly expanded to nine events in 2016 and '17.

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