THE stage is set for the sweet sound of engines roaring today as racing flags off in the FIA WEC Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain weekend at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.
The meeting marks the ninth and final round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). It is also the series’ only stop in the entire region, making for a most unique event in the heart of the desert.
Today’s racing will take place behind closed doors. Fans will be able to enjoy all the hot competition tomorrow and Saturday from 9am onwards.
Speaking ahead of the weekend’s action, BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said: “We at BIC are delighted to welcome back the entire WEC family for another exciting edition of the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain.
“This is one of the most spectacular events on our racing calendar and it is a great pleasure to be hosting the WEC season’s grand finale.
“In addition to WEC, we are delighted to be hosting three support series over the weekend. In particular, we are thrilled to be welcoming the World Series Formula V8 3.5 to Bahrain for the very first time, as the feeder series to WEC. We also welcome the return of the MRF Challenge, as well as our very own Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.”
World champions Porsche are heading into the weekend expecting mixed emotions, as Bahrain marks the manufacturers’ last-ever race in their Porsche 919 Hybrids. The team announced earlier this year that they will be withdrawing their Le Mans Prototype (LMP) 1 programme at season’s end.
While Porsche have already claimed both the FIA WEC World Manufacturers’ Championship and the FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship, several titles are still to be clinched in the WEC’s other categories, including the LMP2, Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance (LMGTE) Pro and LMGTE Am categories.
The FIA WEC will be holding a pair of free practice sessions today to get their season’s final round underway. The first at 3pm will be held in daylight. It will be followed at 7.30pm by a night session.
Aside from the WEC, racing will also begin for the World Series Formula V8 3.5, the MRF Challenge and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
The World Series Formula V8 3.5 championship is the newest addition to the long list of world-class championships hosted by BIC. Bahrain is holding the ninth and final round of its 2017 season.
Top names who have raced in the series in the past include Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, to name a few.
A pair of collective tests will be held today, first at 12.25pm and then again at 5.45pm.
The MRF Challenge is an India-based, single-seater championship. It features some of the fastest young talent from around the world, with races being held all across Asia. Bahrain is the first of four meetings in the 2017 championship.
The MRF gets out on track for the first of two free practices at11.40am and then the second at 2.15pm.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East is the region’s leading one-make championship.
This weekend will see the debut of the championship’s new Porsche GT3 (991) Gen. II Cup cars.
Action kicks off with free practice one at 10.55am, after which free practice two is at 1.30pm.
WEC fans will get a chance to meet the series’ star drivers in an autograph session on Saturday. The session will start at 12.10pm and continue for 30 minutes until 12.40pm. The autograph session will take place along the WEC Pit Lane. All are invited to be a part.
Tickets to the FIA WEC Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain are BD10 apiece for the entire weekend while all those aged 12 and younger can get in for free. They can be purchased at the gate, online at www.bahraingp.com or by calling the BIC Hotline on +973-17-450000.