The ACO and FIA have revealed the full calendar for the 2022 World Endurance Championship, the second full season for the new Le Mans Hypercar class and the final season for full manufacturer-backed GTE-Pro racing.
Six races will make up the 2022 season, a reduced calendar taking into account the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the Le Mans 24 Hours, and a return to Sebring, but no race in the UK.
The season will begin with its traditional Prologue test, this year moving across the Atlantic to take place at Sebring a week before the first round. The Prologue test has taken place at various venues across Europe before, but will switch to the USA so teams can have their cars in place in Florida in time for the first race.
That first race will be the second time that the WEC has raced as part of a Super Sebring weekend in March, with a 1,000-mile race running the day before IMSA’s legendary Sebring 12 Hours. The race was due to also take place in 2020 as part of the new winter-based series for the WEC, running over two calendar years, but was cancelled when the pandemic began to hit and did not run again in 2021.
After the Sebring round the teams will move on to the more familiar grounds of Spa-Francorchamps just under two months later on 7th May, the Belgian circuit taking up its traditional space as the precursor event to Le Mans.
After a successful first trip to the Italian venue in 2021, the WEC will race at Monza less than a month after Le Mans on 10th July, before the summer break allows teams to transport their cars to Japan for a return to Fuji. Toyota’s home round of the WEC has not taken place for two seasons due to the pandemic, but is hoping to return in 2022.
The season will end in November in Bahrain, the venue set to host a double-header to end the 2021 season. All the races except for Le Mans and Sebring will return to the traditional six-hour format for WEC races.
With the new LMH cars making their debut in 2021 with Toyota and Glickenhaus, much is expected of the addition of Peugeot for 2022, with its radical, rear-wingless 9X8. While the French manufacturer has yet to confirm which races it will take part in, the new car will make its debut at some point in the season, becoming the first major OEM competition for Toyota in the WEC since Porsche left at the end of 2017. Glickenhaus and Alpine, which both raced in the LMH class in 2021, the former with a purpose-built LMH car, the latter with a “grandfathered” LMP1 car, have both yet to confirm a return for 2022.
The 2022 season will also be the final year of competition for GTE-Pro. The top level of GT racing in the ACO’s various series has seen a decline in competitors since a height in the mid 2010s. With just Ferrari and Porsche competing in the full 2021 season (joined by Corvette for two rounds), the ACO took the decision to end the all-pro championship a year before new regulations, expected to be based on GT3 cars, come in in 2024. For 2023 the GTE-Am class, for year-old cars with at least one Bronze and one Bronze or Silver rated driver, will become the only GT class in the WEC.