The person accountable for LMEM, the physique liable for the operating of the FIA World Endurance Championship, European and Asian Le Mans Collection and the Michelin Le Mans Cup, Frédéric Lequien took time to speak to the media at Spa Francorchamps on the morning of the 4 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, Spherical 5 of the 2022 European Le Mans Collection.
The dialogue was virtually fully on the file and wide-ranging and with an terrible lot on Frédéric’s desk, there was no scarcity of floor to cowl, and no reluctance to offer some clear solutions.
The ELMS calendar has been fairly positively obtained with maybe one exception, the conflict for the ultimate spherical at Portimao with Petit Le Mans. Is that one thing that you’re nonetheless speaking about or is that fastened?
“It’s a set date. In the intervening time we’re struggling a really unusual scenario with the enlargement of the Method One calendar. Many tracks we prefer to go or we use have to switch their timetable due to this after which we have to adapt too. Then we now have to attempt to keep away from clashes with our associates at IMSA, but in addition with others akin to Method E and SRO.
“Please don’t imagine that we didn’t make efforts to not conflict, we did. We discuss collectively however ultimately, we’re in a scenario that everyone has to make
sacrifices and we now have to handle that. We construct the calendar not over one week or two weeks. It’s an extended stroll. After which once you suppose that every thing is prepared, it’s important to restart from zero.
“You do it a second time, after which once more for an additional motive, it’s important to restart from zero. And that is what occurred this season. In the long run, it’s not so unhealthy. It’s not good. I completely agree. However as soon as once more, we did our greatest effort.”
What about Method One, with 24 races, there’s not rather a lot you are able to do. There are going to be points. What has the connection been like together with your calendars coming collectively, as a result of that’s a significant difficulty for everyone.
“We have to be reasonable. Method One is Method One. And naturally, we need to proceed the dialogue with them. That is what we now have achieved, and I need to thank them for avoiding the large conflict with the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“However for the remainder of the season, it’s virtually not possible to keep away from clashes.
“However the relationships are excellent.
“I need to point out too that we now have had some dialogue conferences with Method E too. They usually actually appreciated that.
“Let’s say that this 12 months, we made the hassle to attempt to accommodate everybody as finest we may and it could be good if we noticed subsequent 12 months that everybody did the identical in return.”
As issues stand in the meanwhile we may have three completely different championships within the ladder with GT3 vehicles. Is that the present imaginative and prescient with Michelin Le Mans Cup, ELMS (and Asian LMS) and the FIA WEC?
“I don’t see any explanation why we must always change that.”
And GT3 Premium shall be WEC solely?
“No, it will likely be in WEC and ELMS.”
When do you suppose we might hear extra about what GT3 Premium is in actuality?
“Earlier than the tip of the WEC season.”
When do we predict we’ll see the 2023 WEC calendar?
“On the finish of subsequent week, on Thursday. Will probably be seven races in 2023 and the plan is to go to eight in 2024.”
May it go to 9?
“We should be delicate to value, in the meanwhile seven or eight is a wise stage.”
The Street to Le Mans races have been pushed again from race morning at Le Mans to now race on Thursday and Friday?
“It’s due to all of the actions that are linked to the centenary. Only a query of timetable.”
About subsequent 12 months’s (ELMS) night time race, Why Motorland?
“Why not? We solely have six races, it could be good to go to 6 completely different international locations was there dialogue with, for instance, Purple Bull Ring, or opthers earlier than you settled on Motorland?
“It’s a fragile steadiness. Once you construct a calendar, it’s important to listen that first we do it for the groups and drivers to ensure that they are going to get pleasure from it, then, after all, I’d be a liar. If I don’t let you know that we now have to concentrate to the funds.
“A monitor like Purple Bull Ring is way away, it’s not simple to hitch. and it’s very, very costly.
“Once we are right here (at Spa), all people’s glad. However imagine me, generally it’s important to take some choices that make all people a bit of bit extra relaxed.
“I need to come again on Motorland. We strongly imagine that the monitor is a high-profile circuit. It’s good. Okay, perhaps it’s a bit in the midst of nowhere, however we will handle that.
“It was additionally a possibility to attempt to do one thing a bit of bit completely different. Okay, it will likely be the second time in Spain so let’s do one thing completely different. Let’s be a bit of bit inventive. And let’s race at night time. The daytime temperature shall be very excessive so it is smart too!
“As for different choices, we had some discussions with many, many tracks in Europe and it doesn’t imply that won’t go sooner or later.
“We’re nonetheless in dialogue with some tracks in Nice Britain and in Germany however for 2023 it was, from my perspective, the perfect format
“Simply to offer an instance of the difficulties we face, we deliberate initially to do the ELMS race at Imola on the fifteenth of Might however modified it to the seventh of Might why?
“As a result of Method One, the San Marino Grand Prix was determined to be on a date which gave the circuit an issue with our date they usually mentioned it’s important to change the date.”
So let’s speak about Britain, as a result of I do know my readers would really like me to ask the place do issues at present stand with the ELMS and with WEC?
“We’re discussing with Silverstone.”
In the intervening time would the precedence be ELMS or WEC?
“In the intervening time it is extremely tough to reply as a result of, you understand, FIA WEC may have eight races in 2024 and I’m undecided that 9 is a good suggestion.
“So it implies that perhaps sooner or later, we have to think about one thing a bit of bit completely different, like one season we go to this monitor and the following some other place
However as soon as once more, we now have no troubles with them. And we had discussions with them in July and deliberate to go to the monitor very early. And we’ll see. Now we have some we now have some actually good contact with them.”
I believe Silverstone would have appreciated the championship again as effectively. There are such a lot of British followers that may’t journey to Le Mans which have missed seeing the vehicles, particularly the hypercars.
“I completely agree with you. But additionally we now have to consider that we some tracks the place we now have some long run agreements. So it’s not really easy. Particularly as a result of we now have had the COVID scenario, the Brexit points, however now it’s time to debate, to consider how and when to return.”
Apart from the provision on the calendar, which is the principal motive, are there boundaries to it coming again? I believe the reply you’re giving us is not any. There’s a good relationship with Silverstone, there isn’t a hangover from discussions that will have taken place three or 4 years in the past. Brexit is now a recognized recognized.
There’s now no motive why it shouldn’t be thought of within the dialogue with different circuits?