FIA announces World Endurance Championship

The FIA caught the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and SRO by surprise after announcing the launch of the FIA World Endurance Championship and changes to the FIA GT1 World Championship.

After the FIA World Motor Sport Council met in Barcelona today a press release was issued in which it was announced that the FIA in partnership with the ACO will creat the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012. Even though no calendar has been confirmed, there will be at least six events including the Le Mans 24 Hours.

There will be a title for Constructors and Drivers, like in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, while the GTE cars will be racing for the FIA GT Endurance World Cup.

The change to the FIA GT1 World Championship will be the creation of a new GT World Class. The new class will be open to 2011 specification GT1 and GT3 cars, as well as the 2009 GT2 cars. As a result the current spec GTE cars will not be allowed to race in the FIA GT World Championship, while current GT3 cars like the Audi R8 LMS, the Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and the new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 could. The performance of the cars will be reviewed in order to create a level playing field and make it possible for more manufacturers to run their cars in the championship.

The FIA GT World Championship will remain a stand-alone championship with two one-hour sprint races.

37 Comments on FIA announces World Endurance Championship

  1. Wow im not sure what to make of this.. FIA could really screw this up, or this could be genous allowing both ACO and FIA teams to finally meet in 1 place and get a much better quality grid.

  2. This is either the best or the worst thing to happen to sports car racing in a while.

  3. Well, let’s hope this championship doesn’t get too successfully. We all know how it went in the 90s. Bernie will be watching again…ready to attack…again…that is, unless ACO haven’t learnt the lesson, that is.

  4. Can’t say I’m happy about the FIAsco getting involved either, but I guess we’ll see how it goes…

  5. We can only hope than the FIA, in their infinite wisdom, will help enforce greater regulations stability in the LMP categories.

  6. Surely this has to be a good thing.It will hugely increase the stature of sports car racing around the globe,ALMS and LMS competing against each other on a regular basis? For far too long it has been the Cinderella of motor sport, yet to knowledgeable fans it represents proper motor racing. To quote Tommy Erdos “there is F1, and then there is motor racing”.
    With increased promotion, coupled with closer competition, we can hope that more major works teams see it as a worthwhile venture. As sports cars are far more closely linked to the stuff we drive than an F1 motor will ever be, surely manufacturers will appreciate the marketing opportunities offered. And Bernie can’t be around for very much longer to screw things up. John Roberts.

  7. The FIA won’t handle properly any racing series that can rival with F1 in popularity. F1 is, among other things, a very profitable business to many. So, Sports Cars Racing will always come second if handled by the FIA. And that’s being optimistic, considering the state of this discipline in the nineties. Le Mans (the race) can survive all ( like Indy 500 will always survive the series) but apart from that … guys like Don Panoz don’t come often.

    I’m not happy. I just hope this FIA-ACO series is ACO ruled with some help from the FIA. If it’s the other way around, Le Mans will only have it’s date fixed after Bernie released the F1 season calendar. Cheers

  8. Just make a series with gt1 gt2 and gt3 cars running together at certain events. That would be cool.

  9. Can someone please clarify? This article posses an error. The ILMC does not present a driver’s title as stated above. The new WSC will. SO where does this leave BMW and Corvette in gt2 aka gte pro? Also how did the FIA catch the ACO by surprise. I can understand the SRO being surprised, however It states in the press release that the ACO and FIA collaborated on this effort. No? Please respond folks!

  10. Damn, it would be better for FIA to call it a world championship, but actually run by ACO. The FIA always want steady grids, and similar cars, and that type of regulations is what killed the WSC in the first place.

  11. SchellZ, the ILMC will be called WEC. It will get a change of name and status.

    Why give titles to drivers? Endurance racing is a team sport. That would be like saying that Lionel Messi is the European football player champion.

    I hope that Sebring and Road Atlanta keep their world championship dates.

  12. I hope they rename it the FIA World Le Mans Championship or something, so that it doesn’t kill the whole point of Le Mans.

  13. Now all we need to do is get the Daytona 24hrs back into the fold. What they ought to do is allow LMP cars to race in their own class, and add a GT class separate from the existing Rolex GT class. The Daytona 24hrs in recent years I feel has dropped off the international motorsports calender. Sure, a lot of the drivers seen at Daytona will race in Le Mans, but Daytona has a legacy as great as that of Sebring, and deserves to be an official part of the calander, not just some halfassed “All-Star” event. Real prototypes going up against the DP’s would be awesome and given the nature of Daytona, I think the competition will be be very real for the LMP cars. I like DP as a class, and I think it would be good for the series as a whole to get some new competition on the grids.

  14. Im a bit confused here at the moment with the new “GT World Class”, are claiming this:

    . Change the FIA GT1 World Championship? Replace with new GT World Class?
    . New “GT World class” for GT1’s, GT2’s, and GT3’s

    Now are claiming this:

    . GT World Class to be initiated (no mention of abolishing FIA GT1 World Championship)
    . “Balancing the performance of 2011 GT1 cars, 2009 GT2 cars and 2011 GT3 cars to enable them to compete in a single FIA GT World Championship”.
    . “A review of the performance of these three categories of cars will be conducted in order to open up the championship to a greater number of makes”.

    My questions:

    . Are 2011 GT1 models going to be the only ones permitted in GT1 or are they (FIA) going to permit 2010 models as well?(No more Corvette GT1? Good!)

    . “As a result the current spec GTE cars will not be allowed to race in the FIA GT World Championship”.
    Will FIA and ACO come together and create common GTE/GT2 specs?
    It’d be silly to run two different programs, one for GT World Class (GT2) and World Endurance Championship (GTE). Teams like BMW and Corvette are the ones I am concerned about. Porsche not so sure, they usually come up with everything!

    . “The change to the FIA GT1 World Championship will be the creation of a new GT World Class”. What so no more FIA GT1 World Championship. It was an OK championship, I didnt mind if it stayed. However they could of created selected races where all the classes were combined (e.g. Spa 24 hours) and other times kept separate classes (BUT thats just me).

    . What of the new SRO Endurance Championship? As far as Im concerned GT3 teams can run in FIA GT3 Euro Championship (I know they have medal grading system, but still, and nothing saying they were removing FIA GT3 Euro Championship!), GT World Class, SRO Endurance Championships, as well as some of the country based GT3 Championships. This is alot of GT3 championships!

    World GT1 currently relies on several designs adjusted from the previous FIA GT1 rules, with only Nissan and Matech Ford having created cars specifically for the new world championship regulations that came into force last year.

    Basically two sources and two slightly (and I mean slightly! I could be wrong) different interpretations. I guess I just want answers!!

  15. I agree Dylan… the title “Le Mans” Needs to be in there somewhere. Just the name itself is legacy of Endurance racing.

  16. ^i think it would be a good idea to combine all three classes at least some events (like Spa 24h). That would bring back the multiclass nature of the series just like it was a few years ago.

  17. I hope this isn’t the end of the 24hours of Spa. Let SRO be the organisation to organize GT events they heave done a lot for GT race the past 15 years, and with the blancpain endurance series they created a very nice and compatitive racing class. I think this is the end of this series before it’s a huge succes. But the format GT1,2 and 3 is nice but let SRO organize it!!

  18. Terrific or [?] Winning a clss at LeMans gives more value than winning all the other minor events in the world / together. Hope this will make sportscar racing better like 1950- 1994. Bernie don’t kill sportscar racing this TIME! TIDEferrari racing; 3115, palm beach,florida 33480. – google- tom davis tide ferraris palm beach for additional info.[561] 635 9447. Ferrari has NOT won LeMans since 1965 [N.A.R.T.- 275LM] & we are the last racing team/ferrari owner to win class, place in top 5 at LeMans. [81 LeMans 5 th O.A. First IMSA class; TIDE ch pozzi ferrari france –512BBLM Ser # 31589,paid $90,000. July 1980 sold July 1987 in palm beach.] SAVE SPORTS CAR RACING, Save the MIAMI MARINE STADIUM.

  19. Why people get so sentimental and start making these silly conspiracy theories everytime FIA and Le Mans are mentioned in the same sentence?

    @Dylan & Brett: Good point, but it is distracting. Le Mans is pretty well known as an event, but it is not English and it doesn’t really describe the type of racing. And since the 24 Hours will be part of the calendar anyway, there is already the connection. Also, guess what was the official name of the old World Championship between 1982-1985? Indeed, “World Endurance Championship”.

  20. This doesn’t make sense how can the brand new GTE cars not be allowed to run while the current generation of GT1s and GT3s can? Why have manufacturers invested money into brand new versions of GT2 cars if they can’t use them? The FIA has gone and ruined something that didn’t need to be messed with.

  21. Strange news. This can only work if the new series REPLACES at least ILMC and/or LMS. And what about the manufactures that have developed both a GT1 and a GT3 car like Nissan and Aston Martin? Will they be forced to develop “something inbetween” for the new GT championship? Has anyone even talked to the teams and manufacturers before announcing this? That seems to be the old “Max Mosley FIA policy” – at first announcing something impossible to be able to get into a deal with the teams about a compromise.

  22. There’s some uneccessary confusion, it’s all quite straightforward.

    The ILMC will be replaced by the FIA WEC, the organisation, promotion, and regulations will be carried out by the ACO. ELigbale cars will be LMP1, LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am.

    The FIA GT1 World Championship will continue, only now 2009 GT2’s and 2011 GT3’s will be allowed, and performance balanced. This will continue to be a sprint championship ran by Stephane Ratel.

  23. Why has the FIA tried to kill GT2? The current GT1 cars are a lame shadow of what the class once was and GT3 is an almost showroom class which should be left to the amateurs. Porsche, Ferrari, Aston & Chevy all produced proper cars for GT2 which have been producing great races for years if Lotus and others want to play too let them build a suitable car instead of performance levelling- let them fight it out.

  24. FIA didn’t kill GT2, ACO did, renamed GTE and accepting cars without homologation : BMW AND Corvette….

  25. The people who think this is good news either have short memories or haven’t been following international sports car racing for the last 30 years.They also don’t know Jean Todt or Bernie Ecclestone.I still remember Bernie’s World SportsCar plan back in the Eighties that put Formula 1 engines in silhouette-style prototypes.Everyone knew it would fail and it did, but not before it brought several new manufacturers into racing.That’s the FIA way.God help us all.

  26. @Mark Duvall: 1) Bernie is not involved 2) FIA is not Bernie 2) Todt had a front row seat with the Peugeot team when the sh*t started hitting the fan in 1992.

  27. Don’t worry Mark,

    The ACO will still “own” most of the races, and will have control over (at minimum) the prototype class’ regulations

  28. Fans have to be cautious since FIA involved.
    but i am quite happy that Lemans racing finally get world championship title back after the lost twenty years.
    For attractive series, tweak of LMP1 is waited. Privateer friendly reg is the most significant issue. Other things are smaller front wheel for more stylish, lighter petrol LMP1 for sharper action at slower corner and true diversity of powertrain. Strong diesel promotion is already becoming old trend on world market.
    Anyway many fans hope that let ACO/FIA create a stable and highly committed series on the new WEC.

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