Spa opens revised WEC calendar, Portimao moved to June

The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship will kick off at Spa in May after the postponement of next month's scheduled series opener at Portimao to June.

Spa opens revised WEC calendar, Portimao moved to June

The Spa 6 Hours retains its original date of May 1 on the latest revision to the calendar, which follows Thursday's shift of the Le Mans 24 Hours from its traditional mid-June slot to August 21-22.

Portimao's eight-hour fixture will now take place over the original Le Mans weekend of June 12/13.

A two-day official test at Spa on April 26-27 will precede the series opener in Belgium.

The revised calendar, which was passed by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on Friday, has resulted from the "uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including travel restrictions", according to a WEC statement.

The WEC stated that it hoped that by pushing back the Portuguese event it will "increase the possibility of fans being able to attend the race".

Spa, however, is set to go ahead behind closed doors.

Read Also:

Pierre Fillon, president of WEC promoter and Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, said: “Due to the ongoing pandemic situation, we have to be extremely flexible in our decision-making.

"We are continually adapting to government decisions, especially restrictions on travel between different countries.

"Following discussions with WEC competitors, we have no choice but to delay the start of the season."

He added that maintaining the original schedule of six rounds, the minimum demanded for the WEC's world championship status, had been the "number one priority".

New WEC boss Frederic Lequien thanked the championship's teams, suppliers and the FIA, as well as the Portimao and Spa circuits, for their co-operation in what he said "continues to be a difficult time for everyone".

The WEC will move on to Monza on July 18, the original date for the Italian fixture, after Portimao.

The two end-of-season races at Fuji and in Bahrain remain on their scheduled weekends in September and November respectively.

This is the third time the WEC calendar has been revised this year in the face of the world health crisis.

A planned start at Sebring on March 19 was abandoned at the end of January in favour of a slightly later kick-off at the Algarve circuit near Portimao.

Continuing uncertainty over international travel resulted in a desire on the part of the WEC organisation to host the series opener in Europe.

The delay of the centrepiece Le Mans round was made by the ACO to ensure the best possible chance of the race being able to accommodate spectators.

Last year's rescheduled edition of the French enduro in September took place without any fan attendance after a plan to accommodate up to 50,000 fans in a series of bubbles around the track had to be abandoned.

Revised 2021 WEC schedule:

Date Venue/Race
May 1  6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
June 12-13 Portugal 8 Hours of Portimao
July 18 Italy 6 Hours of Monza
August 21-22  24 Hours of Le Mans
September 26  6 Hours of Fuji
November 20  6 Hours of Bahrain
shares
comments

Related video

How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy

Previous article

How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy

Next article

Ferrari's Molina tips GT3s to replace GTE in WEC

Ferrari's Molina tips GT3s to replace GTE in WEC
Load comments

About this article

Series WEC
Author Gary Watkins
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Prime

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Prime

How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no factory-run Aston Martins in the GTE Pro class. That's especially notable because as a works entity, the Prodrive era of Aston Martin Racing that began in 2005 has been a success from the very start.

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Prime

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy Prime

How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy

Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021