Why Alonso Fuji date Change had to happen
Autosport|February 15,2018

Why Alonso Fuji date Change had to happen

Gary Watkins

THE CLAMOUR FROM MULTIPLE DRIVERS resulted in the date of the Fuji round of the 2018-19 World Endurance Championship being changed to avoid a clash with the Petit Le Mans IMSA SportsCar enduro. Now a push from a single manufacturer has resulted in the event being switched back to its original October 14 slot for the benefit of just one driver, who goes by the name of Fernando Alonso.

The volte-face by the WEC at the behest of Toyota – which owns the Fuji Speedway – to avoid a conflict with the US Grand Prix and allow Alonso to contest all five 2018 dates of the super season has inevitably sparked controversy. More so because it means that the Japanese WEC race falls on the same day as the Super GT round at Autopolis, which had switched from October 21 after Fuji was moved to that date in the original reshuffle last September. However, there was speculation that the Autopolis race will be moved back a week as Autosport closed for press.

There has been no shortage of drivers with deals to race in both the WEC and the long-distance rounds of the IMSA SportsCar Championship who have gone public with their displeasure. Ganassi Ford WEC driver Olivier Pla, who was due to race for the Extreme Speed Motorsports prototype squad in the four IMSA enduros that make up the North American Endurance Cup, was among those who were critical of the about-turn by the series.

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