The Automobile Club de l’Ouest released the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship schedule today during press conference at the Zhuhai International Circuit. The inaugural season of the WEC will feature 8 races in 8 different countries, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.
As already announced, the 12 Hours of Sebring will be the opening round of the 2012 WEC schedule in March followed by the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium in May.
Round three of the WEC will be the cornerstone 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June. Silverstone is carried over from the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup schedule, though the race has now been moved to August. Round five is a new event held in São Paulo, Brazil at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace circuit, formally known as Interlagos. We knew that Peugeot had been pushing for a South American race and it looks like it has become a reality.
The sixth round of the WEC will be run at Toyota owned Fuji Speedway at the end of September. Toyota has already shown that they are serious about being competitive in the WEC by committing to running two LMP1 cars in the WEC and signing Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, and Kazuki Nakajima as the driving team. This will be Toyota’s first entry into LMP1 sports car racing since the 1990s.
The biggest surprise of the 2012 WEC schedule comes with the seventh round which traditionally would be held at the 10-hour/1000-mile Petit Le Mans held at Road Atlanta. Petit Le Mans has sadly been axed from the schedule in lieu of a race at Bahrain the same weekend. This will be a huge blow to the American Le Mans fans who always enjoy seeing the major teams battling it out at Petit Le Mans, not to mention Bahrain is still dealing with the political unrest which removed it from the F1 schedule this year.
The final round of the WEC will be held in China in November, however it has not been announced as to whether the race will be held at Zhuhai or Shanghai.
The World Endurance Championship points system will follow the current FIA World Championship points system of 25 points for 1st place, 18 points for 2nd place, and 15 points for third place. The 24 Hours of Le Mans will be a double points event.
- 17th March 2012: Sebring 12 Hours (USA)
- 5th May 2012: Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours (B)
- 3rd June 2012: Le Mans 24-Hours test day (F)
- 16th/17th June 2012: 80th Le Mans 24 Hours (F)
- 25th August 2012: Silverstone 6 Hours (GB)
- 16th September 2012: Sao Paulo 6 Hours (BR) tbc
- 30th September 2012: Mount Fuji 6 Hours (J)
- 20th October 2012: Bahrain 6 Hours (BAH)
- 11th November 2012: 6 Hours of TBA (CH)