Winter calendar concept progressing

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Sportscar365's John Dagys spoke with WEC series boss Gerard Neveu about the prospects of moving the championship to the fall and winter months to end with Le Mans in June.

The prospects of the FIA World Endurance Championship shifting into a winter calendar has continued to gain traction among manufacturers and partners, according to series boss Gerard Neveu.

Neveu revealed that a decision will be made between September and November of this year whether the concept, which would see the 24 Hours of Le Mans serve as the season finale, will be green-lighted.

“At this moment, we’re finishing the different consultations that we have to do,” Neveu said. “It’s still one of the top ideas.

FIA WEC press conference: FIA WEC CEO Gérard Neveu
FIA WEC press conference: FIA WEC CEO Gérard Neveu

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

“Imagine to have a calendar starting somewhere [in late summer/fall] and finishing at Le Mans in June. It makes sense because Le Mans is the [biggest event] of the season. It’s better to finish at the high point. We are working on that.”

The 2014 calendar kicked off at Silverstone in April, with the season running into late November due to a date change for the round at Interlagos, which will now be held on Nov. 28-30.

As a result of the Brazil date shift, there is now a three-month gap between this weekend’s double-points scoring Le Mans race and the fourth round at Circuit of The Americas in September.

Neveu admitted the challenge is figuring out how to transition into the new format, which would likely see a mid-year season start.

“If we put [through] this idea, the problem is not to do this because we have the majority of people happy with this idea,” he said. “It’s how we can switch from the [current] system to the new one.

“So we have to find the best compromise with the manufacturers involved and a potential new [manufacturer] coming very soon.”

#8 Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 - Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin
#8 Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 - Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Reigning FIA WEC champion Allan McNish, who serves as the Le Mans Grand Marshal this weekend, is in favor of the format shift.

“From the sport point of view, there’s a lot of competition in the world for the television and fans,” McNish said. “If motorsport can put itself in a different place, then that’s very good.

“Le Mans is definitely the big one and the key. To finish the season at Le Mans, I think, is also a positive idea.”

No time frame has been given on the potential calendar shift, although it’s believed to be unlikely for a 2015 launch.

John Dagys / Sportscar365

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Series WEC
Article type Breaking news
Tags fia, fia-wec, gerard neveu, le mans, lemans, wec, world endurance championship

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