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Edition

Australia

The Bend wants future WEC round

The Bend Motorsport Park is optimistic of an agreement with the FIA World Endurance Championship will see the series head down under in the future.

Jakub Smiechowski, James Winslow and Mathias Beche, Inter Europol Endurance

Circuit owner Sam Shahin has been in talks with WEC officials since pre-COVID and says a number of visits to his facility, as well as his own trips to WEC HQ in Europe, led to a heads of agreement being signed in 2019.

However the pandemic, which saw Australia put strict border controls in place, put any plans for WEC to race at The Bend on the backburner.

With the hard border now down and international travel open, Shahin is ready to revive talks with WEC about a round in South Australia.

"I've been very upfront about our vision to hold the best of everything, the best events in two and four wheeled motorsport," Shahin told Motorsport.com.

"It's almost public view that, pre-COVID, we had a deal with the World Endurance Championship to come here.

"But COVID, and the logistics issues, needed to be unpicked.

"I don't think it's a big ask. It was an incredible privilege to connect with WEC and to host them here, several times. I hosted them here the first time and they returned twice.

"And I visited their headquarters in Europe on several occasions, to the point where we do have a heads of agreement in place. And COVID made a mess of that.

"WEC looks a little bit different now in terms of participants and hierarchy than it did in 2019 but I'm extremely optimistic that there is a future for WEC at The Bend."

Should WEC head to The Bend it would race on the 7.7-kilometre long GT layout, touted as the second-longest permanent circuit in the world.

That layout was used by the Asian Le Mans Series in 2019, an event that Shahin says is the blueprint for a future WEC round.

He also says the ALMS will return as soon as next year to complete the remaining two events of its contract with The Bend.

"[WEC was] incredibly enthusiastic and kept a very close eye on Asian Le Mans running here on the full track," added Shahin.

"The Asian Le Mans organisation, including owners and drivers, could not have been more thrilled with the spectacle of the 4 Hours of The Bend in 2019.

"Fortunately what has happened over the COVID years is that the Asian Le Mans brand has been taken in under the direct umbrella of the Le Mans brand, so I'm dealing now with the Le Mans CEO, which is great.

"And they are enthusiastic about a return here in 2023 or 2024. We can't wait to host them back here."

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Edition

Australia