It has been announced by the FIA World Endurance Championship that next year’s penultimate round of the 2019/20 season will be moved forwards a week to avoid clashing with FIA Formula E‘s Seoul E-Prix.
After the electric race series announced their season six calendar, three WEC clashes were revealed. This has caused an issue for some drivers competing in both series who, with the clashes, were looking like they would have to prioritise one seat over the other. A big watcher of the calendar changes is Sam Bird, who has already stated his priority is Formula E, but is still hoping to lock in his AF Corse full-season seat with Ferrari.
Of the three clashes, the is one race in each series that cannot be moved: the Seoul E-Prix and the 1,000 Miles of Sebring , which WEC shares with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. WEC has shown their willingness to adapt to allow drivers to continue to compete in both series by moving the six-hour Belgian event back a week.
The new date for the 2020 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is 25th April, a week ahead of its originally scheduled date.
No updates have yet been given from Formula E about whether or not they will move either of their currently unannounced rounds to completely avoid clashing with WEC.
Along with this date change announcement, it has been revealed that, after talks, the WEC has signed a four-year extension on their contract with the Belgian circuit. The WEC has been visiting the Stavelot-located circuit since the inception of the championship in 2012. The long-standing round has always been the race before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and looks set to remain an unofficial test race for the blue-riband event.
This extension also applies to the European Le Mans Series.
“We have always aimed to have as much stability in our schedule as possible and we are really delighted that both the WEC and European Le Mans Series will be returning to Spa for another four years.” Gerard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship, said. “Providing our competitors and fans with the opportunity to visit top class circuits and facilities such as Spa is crucial to us, and of course it is one of the drivers’ favourite places to race at.“
Nathalie Maillet, CEO of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, added: “I welcome this extension which demonstrates the excellent collaboration between the ACO and Le Mans Endurance Management, organiser of these two key events in our calendar. I would also like to thank the management of these organisations for their confidence in the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
“This long-term agreement will allow us to develop these two championships together on the basis of a strong, lasting and fruitful relationship. It is finally, and above all, excellent news for all the fans of these two championships.”
Updated 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship Calendar
- 4 Hours of Silverstone – 1st September, 2019
- 6 Hours of Fuji – 8th October, 2019
- 4 Hours of Shanghai – 10th November, 2019
- 8 Hours of Bahrain – 14th December, 2019
- 6 Hours of Sao Paulo – 1st February, 2020
- 1,000 Miles of Sebring – 20th March, 2020
- 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – 25th April, 2020
- 24 Hours of Le Mans – 13th/14th June, 2020