World Endurance Championships
FIA WEC: A World Championship for a New Era
The 9th of June, 2011 will be remembered as one of the most important dates in the recent history of endurance racing. That day, at the 2011 24 Heures du Mans, Jean Todt and Jean-Claude Plassart, respectively Presidents of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), announced the creation of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The FIA WEC (FIA World Endurance Championship) is a logical extension of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC), initiated by the ACO in 2010 and 2011. It also revives the historical thread of the World Championship of Brands of the 50s, 60s and 70s, the Endurance World Championship Group C of the 80s and the World Sports Car Championship of the 90s.
The birth of this new World Championship is perfectly timed. Firstly, it rewards the work of endurance racing, reclaiming its own history during the first decade of the 21st century. Also, the high quality of the grids at the 24 Heures du Mans over this period has resulted in close and exciting racing, as seen in 2011 when only thirteen seconds separated the first two finishers.
Environmental issues have also made endurance racing one of the most modern technology showcases of motor racing. A trend that is expected to intensify in the short term, it enables more immediate and identifiable links between the spectator and the cars on the track.
The FIA WEC represents the popularity and attraction of endurance racing today on legendary circuits (Sebring, Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans, Fuji, Interlagos, Silverstone), and those destinations where the history of motor sport is yet to develop (Middle-East, China). These are long races where anything can happen: prototypes and GTs on the same grid, in the hands of both professionals and the gentlemen drivers, who have done so much for the history of this discipline.
In addition to the various titles, trophies and cups awarded to the competitors of different categories (see below), the WEC will award the title of FIA World Champion Endurance Driver. We can expect some exciting battles to ensue, as some of the winners of the 24 Heures du Mans from the last two decades will demonstrate their motivation to add this prestigious title to an already glorious track record. The final icing on the cake is that the launch of the FIA WEC coincides with the 80th edition of the big race at Le Mans. The circumstances couldn't be better for such a great feast of motor racing!
In the latest instalment of Quick-Fire Questions, World Endurance Championship chief executive Gerard Neveu explains why he believes the championship has a bright future.
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