The FIA World Endurance Championship confirmed a decision that has been widely anticipated for some time and announced on Friday that the Sebring 1000 miles, slated to kick off the 2021 series on March 19, would be due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic were canceled. Its place as the season opener will be taken on April 4th by a new event at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao, Portugal.
Although IMSA’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring takes place as planned on March 20th, the WEC and theirs were European teams more affected by the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic. With the cargo about to be shipped to the United States, the show’s organizers felt they couldn’t wait any longer to cancel this year’s Florida visit.
« Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause worldwide Problems and the decision to cancel Sebring and replace it with a race in Portimao was made after consultation with the FIA, IMSA and the management in Sebring, « said Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobils Club de l’Ouest. “We are sad not to see our American friends and can hardly wait until we can return to the USA to drive with IMSA for ‘Super Sebring’. We remain focused on building our long-term relationship with both IMSA and Sebring International Raceway and the intention will be to return to Sebring in the future. “
On the Algarve International Circuit (see picture above) in the south of Portugal, the prologue, the official test of the WEC before the season, will take place from March 30th to 31st. Portimão was built in 2008 and has hosted a round of the European Le Mans Series since 2017. It offers a mix of fast and slow turns, as well as dramatic gradient changes.
The WEC organizers hope to keep the rest of the 2021 calendar going. Spa-Francorchamps will host the second lap in early May, followed by the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. Monza will host a first WEC race in July, while the championship will return to Fuji, Japan in September. The ninth WEC season ends in Bahrain in November.
In the meantime, Sebring International Raceway wanted to reassure fans that they can be sure to take part in the IMSA race of the track on March 20th as planned. While some aspects of the four day event won’t be entirely normal, the uniqueness of the 400 is thanks to the Plus Acre facility, fans and competitors can enjoy Sebring in a way that has been the experience of many since 1952.
« We are grateful to the amazing Sebring fans who attended the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in November for behaving properly and responsibly so that we can take the next step to get Sebring and all of motorsport back to normal Operations, « he said to Wayne Estes, president and general manager of Sebring. « For most fans and competitors in November it was like not much had changed at Sebring, and the little inconvenience the pandemic caused didn’t rule out the opportunity to have a typical good time at Sebring. » / p> The US-flagged Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has confirmed that it is now holding its FIA World Endurance Championship in the new (…)
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