Qatar's Losail circuit to host endurance racing in addition to F1

Qatar’s Losail to host endurance racing in addition to F1

Qatar's Losail circuit to host endurance racing in addition to F1

Qatar will host a six-hour endurance race to open the 2024 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season, the chief executive of the organisation that oversees the championships said on Monday.

“We will open the 2024 season here in Qatar … it will be a six-hours format,” Frederic Lequien, CEO of Le Mans Endurance Management, said at a news conference, adding that the exact dates of the season have not been set yet.

The deal expands the Gulf Arab state’s role in international motorsports as Qatar is already hosting an annual Formula 1 race for 10 years starting in 2023.

Qatar hopes to expand sports tourism fixtures following the soccer World Cup, which concludes on Dec 18.

“We are the world centre of football. We want to assure our colleagues here that we will be number one in motorsports,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism.

Qatar plans to “modernise” the Losail circuit, where the six-hour endurance race will take place said Abdulrahman Al Mannai, president of the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation.

He did not elaborate on the renovation plans, but said the current layout is “very popular.”

When was the track built?

The Losail International Circuit, located on the outskirts of the capital city of Doha, was built in preparation for hosting Qatar’s first ever MotoGP event in 2004, with the circuit completed in just over a year.

When was its first Grand Prix?

2021 represents the first time Qatar has ever hosted the FIA Formula One World Championship – with the country signing an additional 10-year deal to host the sport from 2023.

What’s the circuit like?

Designed primarily with motorcycle racing in mind, the 5.4-kilometre Losail International Circuit is a fast and flowing track, where medium- and high-speed corners predominate. Over one kilometre of the track’s total length is made up of the main straight, which provides plenty of overtaking opportunities into Turn 1.

Why go?

If you live in the northern hemisphere and the thought of escaping colder climes in November appeals, you’ll be well catered for in Qatar, with average temperatures around 28 degrees Celsius at that time of year. Unsurprisingly with that kind of weather, Qatar is a great country for outdoor pursuits, be that karting at Losail itself, or trips into the desert to go sandboarding, camel riding and 4x4ing.

Where is the best place to watch?

The grandstand at the exit of Turn 10 gives fans the chance to watch the cars blasting through this dynamic section of the track, pitching right through the fast kink of Turn 9 and into the Turn 10 braking zone. (Reporting and writing by Andrew Mills)