Two Le Mans 24 Hours will feature in the next season of the FIA World Endurance Championship after the ACO chose to revise the calendar to run over 2018/19 in what is being dubbed as a ‘super-season’.
Another one of the major headlines coming out of the announcement is the return of the Sebring 12 Hours to the WEC, which will be run as a second 12-Hour race after the IMSA Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on the same weekend.
The traditional IMSA Sebring 12-Hours will start at 10am on the Saturday with the WEC race kicking off two hours after it’s conclusion and running through to midday on the Sunday.
The next edition of the championship will begin in May of 2018 at the 6H of Spa-Francorchamps with the first edition of the Le Mans 24-Hours to follow with its typical calendar slot in June.
From there, the championship will endure a four month break and resume at the 6H of Fuji in mid October.
After Fuji, the series will continue on to the 6H of Shanghai in November followed by a TBC slot in February of 2019.
The WEC will then move onto the 12H of Sebring, returning to the venue for the first time since 2012.
Post Sebring, the series then treks back across to Europe for the second edition of the 6H of Spa-Francorchamps in May, and the Le Mans 24 Hours number two in June again where the season concludes.
The pre-season Prologue Test, which this year was held at Monza, will return to Paul Ricard.
This calendar presented by the ACO is still provisional and subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
The reduction of events, coupled with sizeable gaps between races means that costs will reduce to a third of its current levels due to the equipment being shipped by sea rather than airfreight which it is at the moment.
FIA President Jean Todd believes that these changes will bring healthy grids to all the events and a new era for the WEC.
“With all these decisions, we are confident of seeing a full and very competitive grid next season,” Todt said.
“We are already discussing with several manufacturers and privateer teams who are investigating very seriously entrance from 2018/2019 season in LMP1, taking into consideration that the LMP2 and GTE grids are already strong with a high level of commitment for the future.”
The ACO also mentioned other changes to the series that are yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, the 2017 edition of the championship continues at the 6H of Mexico this weekend.
5 & 6 April: The Prologue, Circuit Paul Ricard (FRA)
4 & 5 May: WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)
16 & 17 June: 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)
13 & 14 October: 6 Hours of Fuji (JPN)
03 & 04 November: 6 Hours of Shanghai (CHN)
February 2019: Place and event TBC
15 & 16 March 2019: 12 Hours of Sebring (USA)
3 & 4 May 2019: WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)
15 &16 June 2019: 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)