Fuji WEC round cancelled, Bahrain becomes double-header

The FIA World Endurance Championship has cancelled its Fuji round for a second year in a row, replacing it with a second fixture in Bahrain.

Fuji WEC round cancelled, Bahrain becomes double-header

Japan's ongoing travel restrictions amid the global health crisis ultimately made the Fuji race, scheduled for September 26, untenable.

Instead, the WEC will now visit Bahrain for a double-header after a two-month break following the Le Mans 24 Hours, with two races in successive weekends pencilled in for October 30 and November 6.

The first of the two races in Bahrain will be a six-hour event, while the existing eight-hour season finale originally set for November 20 has been brought forward by two weeks.

WEC boss Frederic Lequien said: "Regrettably we have been left with no choice but to cancel our Japanese leg of the world championship due to continuing difficulties with the pandemic, including travel restrictions and logistical issues. 

"We have instead decided to replace Fuji with another race in Bahrain, which we firmly believe is the safest option for everyone."

He added that he is "confident that a double-header in Bahrain is an ideal solution in the current climate". 

The announcement of the double-header on Wednesday follows comments from Lequien at last month's Portimao 8 Hours WEC round that any new fixture in the event of Fuji being cancelled would likely be in Europe.

Both Lequien and Pierre Fillon, president of WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, thanked the Fuji circuit for its efforts to save the race. 

There is an intent for the WEC to return to the Japanese track in the future, Lequien stressed.  

Bahrain International Circuit chief executive Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said: “It is a great pleasure for us to be able to host two rounds of WEC. 

"Over the last few months, we have demonstrated our ability to host several major international events in a safe manner and we thank WEC for showing their faith in us yet again.”

Bahrain hosted back-to-back grands prix at the end of last season after major revisions to the Formula 1 calendar, and it is a candidate to host another additional race this year in the light of uncertainty over further F1 rounds in the wake of this week's cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.

The Japanese GP at Suzuka scheduled for October 10 is among the races in doubt. MotoGP has already cancelled its Motegi fixture set for October 3.

The WEC's first Bahrain race is now clashing with Super Formula's season finale at Suzuka, which means Toyota drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Kazuki Nakajima will be forced to miss the latter unless there are further changes to the schedule for either series.

However, the cancellation of the Fuji WEC race alleviates a schedule clash with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's Long Beach round that was set to affect a number of drivers.

Revised 2021 WEC schedule:

Date Venue/Race
May 1  6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
June 13 Portugal 8 Hours of Portimao
July 18 Italy 6 Hours of Monza
August 21-22  24 Hours of Le Mans
October 30  6 Hours of Bahrain
November 6  8 Hours of Bahrain
shares
comments

Related video

Hirakawa: Toyota hypercar test tougher than I imagined

Previous article

Hirakawa: Toyota hypercar test tougher than I imagined

Next article

Ferrari boss Elkann named starter of 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours

Ferrari boss Elkann named starter of 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
9 h
How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak Prime

How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak

The FIA World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 Hybrid remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing.

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Prime

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness.

Le Mans
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021