The World Endurance Championship has used a winter format since the 2018-19 season, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the series to reconsider. Instead, it will cut the winter portion of its 2020 and instead will only contest six races in 2021.
2021 will be the shortest season since WEC formed back in 2012, but the series is anticipating that teams and drivers will still be struggling through the aftermath of coronavirus. The revised schedule takes the series to a blend of iconic tracks like Spa and newer builds like Bahrain. The 24 Hours of Le Mans will also return to its traditional June date.
Pre-season testing will take place at Sebring on March 13-14, 2021, roughly one week before the first event at the same track.
WEC boss Gerard Neveu said the following, as noted in Motorsport.com:
We listened to our manufacturers, teams and partners and responded with a calendar featuring fewer events than in the past to allow them all time to deal with the current economic crisis.
We will revise this upwards again in the future, as and when the health situation and the economy allows us to do so—hopefully from 2022 onwards.
The calendar also takes into account our logistical road map as it provides our teams with the most cost-effective package possible.
It’s fairly disappointing for race fans, but it does make sense from the practical side of things. The long-term impacts of the still-present pandemic are not yet obvious, and that includes everything from health concerns to financial problems. It’s entirely possible that cases could be spiking well into 2021, in which case it would be preferable to err on the side of caution in having fewer races.
The schedule is as follows:
March 19, 2021: Sebring 1000 Miles
May 1, 2021: 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
June 12-13, 2021: 24 Hours of Le Mans
July 18, 2021: Italy 6 Hours of Monza
September 26, 2021: 6 Hours of Fuji
November 20, 2021: 6 Hours of Bahrain