Silverstone seeking long-term WEC berth

The start of this year’s 6 Hours of Silverstone

Silverstone Circuit management has declared its desire to secure a long-term place on the World Endurance Championship calendar following news of its return in 2018/19.

Silverstone looked to have been dropped from WEC when next season’s calendar was first announced earlier this month.

It was restored a fortnight later in a new slot on August 19, replacing the February TBA round, in the championship’s transition to a season which straddles calendar years.

Having hosted the opening round in April for the past five years, Silverstone management hopes to maintain the new August date going forward.

“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,” said Silverstone Circuits Ltd managing director Stuart Pringle.

“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.”

The restructure of the calendar means that there will be now be five races during 2018 and three over the first half of 2019, including two helpings of the 6 Hours of Spa and Le Mans 24 Hours.

WEC boss Gerard Neveu has so far refused to talk about the make-up of the championship’s first winter series in 2019/20, except to say that it will comprise seven races.

However, he said it would make sense if was made up of existing WEC fixtures.

“When we go somewhere we want to stay for a long time and build something,” explained Neveu.

“People need to understand that an event will happen at the same time every year.”

Silverstone believes that a switch from the season-opening April date it has filled since 2013 to the penultimate weekend of August can result in a major increase in the crowd.

“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.”

See below for the revised calendar

World Endurance Championship: 2018/19 calendar

6 & 7 April Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard (FRA)
5 May 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)
16 & 17 June 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)
19 August 6 Hours of Silverstone (GBR)
21 October 6 Hours of Fuji (JPN)
18 November 6 Hours of Shanghai (CHN)
16 & 17 March 2019 12 Hours of Sebring (USA)
4 May 2019 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)
15 & 16 June 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)

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