The provisional calendar for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season has been announced, retaining all nine rounds from the 2016 season.
The 2017 WEC season will once again feature eight six-hour races, starting with the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 16.
Dates for both the 6 Hours of Spa and the 24 Hours of Le Mans had already been announced, being held on May 6 and June 18-19 respectively.
The 6 Hours of Nürburgring is locked in for July 16, clashing with the provisional date for the Formula E weekend in Montreal despite a number of drivers racing in both series.
Following the 6 Hours of Mexico on September 3, WEC will return to Austin, Texas for the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas on September 16 next year, confirming the split with the IMSA Lone Star Le Mans race after its move to a spring date.
The 6 Hours of Fuji is set for October 15 ahead of the 6 Hours of Shanghai on November 5, before the season finale in Bahrain on November 18.
Perhaps the biggest change to the calendar is the move of the traditional pre-season prologue test from Paul Ricard to Monza, which will play host to running on March 24 and 25.
Provisional 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar
1. 6 Hours of Silverstone – April 16
2. 6 Hours of Spa – May 6
3. 24 Hours of Le Mans – June 17/18
4. 6 Hours of Nürburgring – July 16
5. 6 Hours of Mexico – September 3
6. 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas – September 16
7. 6 Hours of Fuji – October 15
8. 6 Hours of Shanghai – November 5
9. 6 Hours of Bahrain – November 18
“We are very pleased to have maintained this level of stability in the five years of the WEC to date, and our 2017 calendar allows us to continue to build on the tradition of endurance racing around the world,” ACO president Pierre Fillon said.
“Our increasing number of fans year on year is proof that returning to a venue at a similar time of year encourages people to make their plans to attend well in advance…and to bring friends with them to enjoy all the entertainment and access that the WEC offers.
“The Le Mans 24 Hours needs no introduction, but we know that audiences in countries such as Mexico can only increase as their knowledge and interest in the WEC grows. We look forward to an exciting 2017 starting with our first visit to Italy.”
“The opportunity to start our season at Monza is one we are sure will please competitors, fans and media alike,” FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu said.
“We hope that our calendar not only meets the expectations and requirements of all our partners and competitors, and makes economic and logistical sense, but also that it fits in with the increasing number of events that each venue hosts.
“The WEC continues to offer fans access to the most technologically relevant, competitive, and open championship possible, as well as offering our manufacturers Aston Martin, Audi, Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and Toyota the perfect showcase for their products on and off track.”