WEC boss steers away from F1 comparisons

Wed Apr 8, 2015 1:07pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Gerard Neveu is no fan of comparisons between his FIA World Endurance Championship and Formula One, even if others are making them in his favor.

As grand prix racing lurches from crisis to crisis, with shrinking starting grids and rising costs for teams and fans alike, the revamped WEC has attracted attention for doing things differently.

Race day tickets are affordable, social media platforms are nurtured, spectators are able to get close to the cars in the garages, the youth audience is actively targeted and gimmickry kept to a minimum.

Even the grid girls, a staple of F1's pre-race 'glamour', have been banished.

The number of entries are on the rise too with Le Mans, which draws around 250,000 spectators for the 24 Hours race in June, increasing the number of pit garages from 56 to 60 for 2016.

Neveu, the WEC chief executive and former Le Castellet circuit boss, told Reuters ahead of Sunday's Six Hours of Silverstone season-opener that the business models were very different, however.

"There is nothing to compare. This is two parallel ways," he insisted.

"They (F1) are racing with celebrities...in our championship the main actors are first the manufacturers," he said. "The car is the star.   Continued...