The FIA World Endurance Championship has revealed a condensed six-round schedule for the 2021 season.
Following the WEC's decision to abandon the winter calendar format it has used since the 2018/19 season, it was widely anticipated that the number of races would be slashed to help contain costs in the wake of the global coronavirus crisis.
Now series organisers have unveiled the smallest season schedule since the WEC's inception in 2012, kicking off with the Sebring 1000 Miles on March 19.
That will be followed by a trip to Spa on May 1 for the first of four six-hour races, and the Le Mans 24 Hours centrepiece, which returns to its traditional mid-June date.
Monza will host the fourth round of the series in mid-July, having been part of the original 2020/21 calendar that was revealed late last year.
Two more races follow in Fuji in September and finally Bahrain in November.
Of the venues on the original 2019/20 schedule, Silverstone and Shanghai have been axed, while there will also be no return to the Circuit of the Americas, which acted as a late stand-in for the cancelled Interlagos race.
WEC boss Gerard Neveu commented: "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.”
A two-day official pre-season test will take place at Sebring on March 13-14 ahead of the opening round at the Florida track, which shares a bill with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's traditional 12-hour fixture.
2021 WEC schedule:
|March 13-14||Pre-season test at Sebring|
|March 19||Sebring 1000 Miles|
|May 1||6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps|
|June 12-13||24 Hours of Le Mans|
|July 18||6 Hours of Monza|
|September 26||6 Hours of Fuji|
|November 20||6 Hours of Bahrain|
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