Opening round moves to Portugal

The FIA World Endurance Championship season 2021 won’t be starting at Sebring, Florida anyway.

Due to the COVID-19 situation and the travel restrictions surrounding, ACO and LMEM have chosen to move the opening round to the Portimao circuit in Portugal.

This will be the first time for Autodromo do Algarve to host an FIA WEC race, but has become a fixed part of the European Le Mans Series.

The undulating track usually delivers some amazing race, but we still haven’t seen the new Hypercar category race along with LMP2 and GTE cars.

This is, unfortunately, the second year in a row, that the FIA WEC will miss out on Sebring, since the 2020 race had to be cancelled too.

The IMSA part of the weekend will still run in March 2021, just like the Americans managed to host their 2020 race, but with a few months delay.

ELMS Portimao 2020 start
Photo: JJ Media

The Portimao circuit is a popular place for testing, since the weather in the south of Portugal often is warm and dry. The only problem for the circuit is that it’s located so far from Central Europe. But that is thankfully weighted up by the track and the weather.

The entry list for the FIA WEC 2021 was released yesterday, with 33 cars on the entry list. With the race moving to Europe, it’s not impossible with a few ELMS teams dropping by, using this weekend as a warm-up for their own season. There is room for about 40 cars in the pitlane, so there is room for a few guest starters.

The race in Portimao will be 8 hours and run on the 4 April. In the week up until the race, there will be three days of testing, before the Saturday will be testing and qualifying.

It is still not known if or what support races there will be, or if it’s an FIA WEC race week exclusively.

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