Silverstone had originally been dropped off the 2018/19 World Endurance Championship ‘superseason’calendar, but now it has retaken its spot in the 24 month season the organisers are looking for long-term comittment to the series. With the plan in place for the WEC to have a winter season in the future, Silverstone bosses are keen to keep hold of their August date.
The newly planned WEC calendar will see the season start in August and finish with the blue ribbaned event at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After having being dropped off the original down-sized calendar Silverstone are making it clear that they wish to keep their August event date for the 2019 season and beyound. With the way the new calendar is predicted, this would have the 6 Hours of Silverstone as the opening round of the season.
“We are taking a long view and want to be part of the WEC moving forward, though our deal for the moment only covers 2018,” Silverstone Circuits Ltd managing director Stuart Pringle told Autosport. “We definitely want to stick about.
“We don’t know what kind of grid we are going to get next year, but sportscar racing is very important in the history of Silverstone and the British Racing Drivers’ Club [the owner of the track] was born at Le Mans.”
WEC had been hoping to add a race into the calendar between the final round in 2018 and the American round at the start of 2019. This was to try and keep costs of transport down and make moving the cars around the world logistical. It meant that they were looking to the Circuit of the Americas, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez or Interlargos to take a February 2019 race date. When those deals fell through the WEC organiers returned to talks with Silverstone and agreed to settle on an August date.
This means the 2018/19 season will see five races in 2018 and three races before the season finale at Le Mans in 2019. Two occurances of the Le Mans 24 Hours will appear in the WEC ‘superseason’.
Gerard Neveu, WEC boss, has yet to comment on the way the first winter calendar has formed since its announcement at the 6 Hours of Mexico. The only comment he has made is that the season will be composed of seven different race locations and that it made sense for the WEC to return to tracks they had already visited as the fan base it already there.
“When we go somewhere we want to stay for a long time and build something,” he explained. “People need to understand that an event will happen at the same time every year.”
Silverstone feels that a switch from the opening round of the season, a position it has held since 2013, to the penultimate round will bring in a bigger crowd to the endurance event. “We are very happy with the new date, but we will have to see how it meets with everyone’s approval, including the fans,” said Pringle.
“With the race coming after Le Mans, this presents an opportunity to market the event to the many British fans who go to Le Mans.”