COTA keeps place on WEC 2017 schedule, FE clash still possible
The FIA World Endurance Championship has retained Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on its 2017 schedule, despite speculation of a potential switch to Indianapolis.
Uncertainly over COTA’s financial situation led to rumours that the event would move away from Texas, but a successful 2016 round appears to have helped nail its position for next season.
The publication of the calendar does create one problem, however, as the confirmation of the Nurburgring’s July 16 event seems likely to clash with Formula E’s Montreal round or its New York City finale – which was referred to as a “mid-July date” at its launch this week.
Six drivers – Lucas di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi, Stephane Sarrazin, Sam Bird, Adam Carroll and Loic Duval – currently dovetail both series.
The only new venue on the schedule is a switch of location for the pre-season Prologue group test and media days, from Paul Ricard to Monza.
The season proper begins as usual at Silverstone, ahead of the Spa-Le Mans-Nurburgring European leg, the US-Mexico swing and then the far East rounds in Japan and China.
Bahrain will once again host the season finale.
“We are very pleased to have maintained this level of stability in the five years of the WEC to date, and our 2017 calendar allows us to continue to build on the tradition of endurance racing around the world,” said Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO.
“Our increasing number of fans year on year is proof that returning to a venue at a similar time of year encourages people to make their plans to attend well in advance…and to bring friends with them to enjoy all the entertainment and access that the WEC offers.
“The Le Mans 24 Hours needs no introduction, but we know that audiences in countries such as Mexico can only increase as their knowledge and interest in the WEC grows. We look forward to an exciting 2017 starting with our first visit to Italy.”
Gerard Neveu, CEO of WEC, added: “The opportunity to start our season at Monza is one we are sure will please competitors, fans and media alike.
“We hope that our calendar not only meets the expectations and requirements of all our partners and competitors, and makes economic and logistical sense, but also that it fits in with the increasing number of events that each venue hosts.
“The WEC continues to offer fans access to the most technologically relevant, competitive, and open championship possible, as well as offering our manufacturers Aston Martin, Audi, Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and Toyota the perfect showcase for their products on and off track.”
2017 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar
|March 24-25||Prologue at Monza|
|April 16||6 Hours of Silverstone|
|May 6||6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps|
|June 17-18||24 Hours of Le Mans|
|July 16||6 Hours of Nurburgring|
|September 3||6 Hours of Mexico|
|September 16||6 Hours of COTA|
|October 15||6 Hours of Fuji|
|November 5||6 Hours of Shanghai|
|November 18||6 Hours of Bahrain|
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