The FIA World Endurance Championship's Global Fan Survey results were revealed in Bahrain today, showcasing evidence of an emerging young and digitally-engaged audience.
Launched towards the end of September, the survey received responses from more than 54,000 fans around the world. The survey was run by Motorsport Network in conjunction with Nielsen Sports and follows in the footsteps of the F1 Global Fan Survey run by Motorsport Network earlier this year.
The results were unveiled in Bahrain by FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu ahead of the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain, the final round of the 2017 season.
“It was extremely gratifying to get such a positive response to our WEC Global Fan Survey and we want to say a sincere thank you to everyone who participated and who shared with us their passion and commitment to our sport," Neveu said.
“It is the fans who inspire us to continue evolving and developing the WEC, and who support the different motor manufacturers and privateer teams, our competitors, in their participation at our events around the world.
"Endurance racing fans are some of the most knowledgeable in motorsport, as revealed in the survey now available, and they display an interest and dedication to the WEC which should not be ignored.
“There is still much work to do and challenges to meet to satisfy our fans, but the opinions given by them in this survey will contribute greatly in helping us to improve and move forward our championship for the years to come.”
The aim of the fan survey was to get input on a comprehensive range of subjects including the number of races, where they are held, the spectacle of the WEC, favorite brands and much more.
The feedback has provided the promoter of the WEC – the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) – and the organization team behind the championship with valuable tools with which to move forward into the future.
Fans from 179 countries across the world took part in the survey – 43% of whom were under age 35.
"We are very pleased to have been able to help the FIA WEC with this important research to help the championship refine and define its future," Motorsport Network Editor-in-Chief, Charles Bradley said.
"As with our F1 survey, the FIA WEC obviously has regular feedback from the drivers, the teams, the manufacturers and the event promoters, but getting feedback from the thousands of race fans around the world is imperative in developing the championship.
"The survey results have identified a young and digitally-engaged fanbase – that is the same audience Motorsport.com and our other sites talk to every day."
The survey identified that the series has a loyal fan base – a significant percentage having started following endurance racing since the WEC began.
Other survey highlights included:
- The Championship attracts a largely affluent fanbase, and its fans are motorsport purists who have a low engagement in following other sports and interests, bar technology.
- The fans considered that the top five attributes of the WEC were that it is: technological, competitive, innovative, exciting and global.
- The favorite marques among fans included those already seen in the WEC including Porsche, Aston Martin and Ferrari, but equally, those who might be attracted in the future including McLaren.
- While LMP1 is the single most followed category, nearly 80 per cent of the fans follow both the LMP and GTE categories. The GTE Pro class is in strong health with the advent of BMW joining Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche from next year.
- Fans stated a clear preference for an 8-10 race calendar and the core global venues were identified as Le Mans, Spa, Nürburgring, Silverstone, Sebring and Fuji.
- They also expressed interest in varied race formats of 6, 12 and 24 hours, and 1000km duration.