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Finding a path to Formula One usually means being successful in GP3 and GP2, but what if you want to join the World Endurance Championship (WEC)?
The route to the championship has become a lot clearer with news that the Formula V8 3.5 open-wheel series will serve as a feeder series from 2017.
The deal will see Formula V8 3.5 races taking place in support of WEC events.
“The agreement includes a minimum of three overseas rounds in Mexico, Japan and Bahrain, the last being the final event of the endurance championship, in addition to three of the four European events on the WEC calendar: Silverstone, Spa and Nürburgring,” the WEC said in a press statement.
A notable absentee is the Le Mans 24 Hours, being the fourth of four European events on the WEC calendar.
A test drive on the cards
It’s more than just a support series though, as the arrangement will have a lovely incentive.
“Included in this historic new motorsport project is an amazing prize: the chance to be part of the WEC’s rookie test in Bahrain in the main categories of LMP1 or LMP2 or GTE for the drivers placed first, second and third in the Formula V8 3.5 championship.”
WEC CEO Gérard Neveu said the deal was positive news for fans and drivers alike.
“It make sense to offer to the new generation of drivers access to a well-established championship such as the FIA WEC. The fact that the champions will have an opportunity to take part in the WEC’s official rookie test at the end of the season will be additional motivation and a target for everyone on the grid.”
The Formula V8 3.5 championship was initially run as the World Series By Nissan before being run as the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2005.
Prominent drivers to compete in the series include Carlos Sainz Jr, Will Stevens, Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Jules Bianchi, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica and Marcus “I led a race in my F1 debut” Winkelhock.