Officials believe the hosting of the major sports car racing event opener will place Qatar at the centre of racing.
Qatar is hosting the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) opener, a major auto-racing event gathering key racers from around the globe, the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) announced on Monday.
The sports car racing extravaganza will run for six hours during its inaugural season as part of a six-year agreement, Amro Al-Ahmad, QMMF Executive Director and ex-endurance racing driver, said during the announcement.
The important event will see fierce competition between renowned racers at the Lusail International Circuit in its modernised design.
Six hours is considered the shortest time of the race, while 24 hours can be the longest. The WEC is also ranked among the top events of its kind besides the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the World Cup.
Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani attended the conference, where the exciting announcement was made, along with key officials from the car sports racing industry.
Also in attendance was Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who noted the importance of the event, saying it will place the Gulf state in an important position in motorsports.
“We will also be number one in motorsports and hopefully this will make us the centre of car racing,” Al Baker said.
In a surprise appearance, renowned former sports car racer Jacky Ickx came to the stage to share his experience in the industry. Ickx told the audience that he feels welcomed in the Gulf state, congratulating it for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first to ever take place in the Arab world.
“Hosted by Qatar, honestly it’s a success for us, it’s about sharing, it’s about having the same passion for something and I’m sure it will be a fantastic moment with a lot of atmosphere, but also with a lot of soul,” Ickx told Doha News.
Qatar is also set to host one of the six F1 sprint races during the 2023 season of the championship. Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, the United States, and Brazil will host the other five sprint qualifying events.
From October 6 to October 8, the F1 racing extravaganza will be held at the Lusail Circuit in Qatar.