The Internationl Autombolie Federation (FIA) has signed a six-year partnership with Lusail International Circuit that will see Qatar host the World Endurance Championship's (WEC) season opener from 2024 until at least 2029.
The gulf state becomes the 13th country the championship has visited, as the championship bids to expand into new global markets.
The circuit, which has previously hosted MotoGP and Formula One events since opening in 2004, is currently undergoing an extensive redevelopment, including updrages to its paddock area and facilities, ahead of the inaugural 'Six Hours of Qatar' event.
In 2024, the WEC's hypercar category will feature a minimum of eight different manufacturers, including Alpine, BMW, Cadillac, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Peugeot, Porsche and Toyota.
The WEC's preseason 'The Prologue' test event will be held in Qatar ahead of the race.
“We are delighted to have signed a minimum six-year contract with Lusail International Circuit to bring the WEC to Qatar for the very first time," said Frédéric Lequien, WEC chief executive.
"The extensive renovations that are currently underway at Lusail will make it one of the most prestigious race circuits in the world. 2024 will be a very memorable year – not only will we have several global manufacturers competing in the Hypercar category, but we’ll be taking endurance racing to another new territory.”
Abdulrahman bin Abdullatif al-Mannai, president of the Qatar Motor and Motorsport Federation, added: “For what the event represents worldwide, Qatar is immensely honored to host the opening round in the 12th season of WEC in 2024. Undoubtedly, hosting this much-anticipated edition of WEC is yet another major milestone and another Qatari dream fulfilled.
"We’ve already made the necessary circuit renovations and upgrades to deliver a world-class state-of-the-art experience to both spectating fans and participating drivers, implementing all the changes that are needed for us to conform with the FIA’s technical standards and bringing in advanced technologies that are fitting for one of its sporting events, but we’re certain that this six-year journey we’ve embarked on will motivate us to push the boundaries of what we previously thought to be achievable even further, allowing us to make tremendous improvements to the venue come 2030.”