Return of the FIA WEC – Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo: A Fusion of Speed, Culture and Sustainability

The Praça das Artes – a cultural complex in the centre of São Paulo, Brazil – hosted a special FIA World Endurance Championship press conference today [Monday 25 March] ahead of the much-anticipated Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo (14 July).

The event, heralding the FIA WEC’s return to Interlagos after a 10 year absence, gathered over 200 spectators including Mayor Ricardo Nunes, WEC drivers Augusto Farfus (Team WRT) and Nicolas Costa (United Autosports), as well as a notable presence of authorities, business leaders and entertainment figures.

Hosted by former F1 driver Tarso Marques and TV presenter Fernanda Faveron, the press conference was staged across various spaces within Praça das Artes including a public area. There was also a live broadcast of the event allowing passersby to engage with the event, which ranged from automotive-themed film screenings to the chance to try out a racing simulator.

Reaffirming the city’s commitment to the WEC for a minimum of five years, Mayor Nunes expressed his enthusiasm for the return of endurance racing to São Paulo. ACO President, Pierre Fillon, invoked the spirit and history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans while FIA WEC CEO, Frederic Lequien, highlighted the collaboration with local cultural institutions, such as the São Paulo Experimental Orchestra and the São Paulo Dance School.

These institutions are set to elevate the opening ceremony of the Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo with performances that include an experimental orchestra, choir and ballet, as demonstrated during the opening of the press conference.

In a nod to sustainability, Frederic Lequien unveiled this year’s trophy for the Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo – a creative endeavor by the renowned Brazilian street artist, Mundano. Uniquely, the trophy was crafted from waste collected around the city. This initiative not only emphasises the innovation and creativity involved but also establishes an environmental commitment for future editions of the race, where trophies will be created using the waste generated at the previous year’s event.

The Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo promises to be more than an automotive competition; it is set to transform into a true cultural and sporting festival. With a fanzone filled with entertainment for all ages and an exclusive concert by famous Brazilian singer Michel Teló, the event transcends speed to become a celebration of Brazilian culture.

The experience will be enriched by attractions such as the Le Mans Ferris Wheel, gaming areas, a diverse food court, and an exhibition of vintage cars. All these elements will help ensure that Mais Brasil, the event organiser, delivers an immersive and unforgettable experience for motorsport and culture enthusiasts.

Ricardo Nunes, Mayor of São Paulo: “The city of São Paulo consolidates itself as the capital of motorsport with the Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo, with cars and drivers participating in the most traditional race on the world stage. Our city enters the scene as one of the most important motorsport hubs in the world. Our infrastructure makes the city the only one to host three main categories approved by the FIA with Formula 1, Formula E and FIA WEC. The WEC is broadcast in almost 200 countries, presenting to the world São Paulo’s ability to organise the largest international events, attracting tourists and investors. In addition to generating thousands of direct and indirect jobs, further boosting the São Paulo economy, with the generation of important foreign exchange for Brazil.”

Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO: “I am delighted to be celebrating the FIA World Endurance Championship’s return to Brazil. Interlagos is a major motorsport venue and we shall return to the demanding circuit ten years after the last championship race here. Last time, there were 26 cars on the grid, nine in the top class. This year, 37 cars take the start. Nineteen in the top class – Hypercar. The figures speak for themselves. Our discipline is more and more popular. We are experiencing a golden age the likes of which we have never seen. My heartfelt thanks go to the mayor of São Paulo, Ricardo Nunes, and to everyone who contributed to our return here. We’re looking forward to the 14th of July and invite our many Brazilian fans to join us for what promises to be another superb race.”

Fréderic Lequien, CEO of FIA WEC: “Firstly, I want to sincerely thank Ricardo Nunes, the city’s Mayor, for his help in bringing the WEC back to São Paulo – marking a decade since the championship was last in Brazil. Our championship is stronger than ever with 14 of the world’s most iconic manufacturers all battling it out on track and we are very excited to bring the spirit of Le Mans back to São Paulo. The racing combined with the entertainment planned in the fanzone will make this year’s Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo a truly unforgettable event.”

Gustavo Pires, President of SP Turis: “It is set to be one of the most charming races in the world, which mixes the roots and all the glamour of motorsport with the ability to mobilise and attract motorsport lovers. With the WEC, the city of São Paulo differentiates itself worldwide as the only one to host three different FIA World Championships.”

Carlos Col, President of Mais Brasil: “Our main mission as the local promoter is to return Interlagos to the public, where no one will be confined to a grandstand, being able to move around the circuit and have a complete experience at a motorsport event. The fan zone at the heart of Interlagos will cater to all audiences making it an event for the entire family.”

Augusto Farfus, Team WRT driver (BMW): “It was a pleasure to attend today’s press conference and to hear about the different entertainment planned for this year’s race at Interlagos. I am very excited about racing in my home country and I can’t think of a better time for the championship to return to São Paulo consdering the WEC has one of the strongest grids in world motorsport right now. I have so many great memories racing at Interlagos, the first time I competed there was back in 1992 and I hope that this year I can put on a great show for the home fans who come and show their support.”

Nicolas Costa, United Motorsports driver (McLaren): “The plans for the WEC’s return to São Paulo and all the entertainment planned that has been talked about during the press conference sound very exciting. It’s clear that a lot of hard work is being done behind the scenes to give the fans an extraordinary show, both on and off the track. I am proud to be driving a McLaren run by my team United Autosports at my home race – with this year marking 30 years since the passing of the legend that was Ayrton Senna, it will feel very special to race at Interlagos in front of the home fans. I can’t wait and hope to see many of you at Interlagos this July!”

Mundano, Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo trophy creator: “It was a great gift for me to receive this invitation to create a trophy using urban waste. I have been involved in the waste pickers’ agenda for more than 17 years and have learned so much about the importance of these professionals to society. I am very happy to now see this example from WEC. It was a big challenge to create this trophy, working with cement to represent our city that is grey and that I, as a street artist, have been trying to colour for decades. Hopefully I have brought a vision of beauty to these materials including plastic that many people see as a problem.”