The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar has been provisionally published with Monza taking over from Paul Ricard has the host of the pre-season Prologue tests, while the bulk of the calendar follows a familiar pattern.

The FIA Endurance Commission has submitted the calendar to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for validation having retained the same nine-round campaign as 2016, starting at Silverstone before heading to Spa ahead of the blue riband event: Le Mans 24 Hours.

The only change compared to the 2016 calendar is the switch of venue for the pre-season Prologue from Paul Ricard to Monza which will be held on the 24-25 March.

After Le Mans WEC continues its familiar journey to the N?rburgring, before the trans-continental races in Mexico, USA, Japan and China with the season finale remaining at Bahrain.

Formula E clash fears

Despite publicised fears of a clash of calendars between Formula E and WEC, with many teams and drivers splitting their time between the two championships including current champion Sebastien Buemi, one clash has arisen.

On the 14-16 July the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring is scheduled and set to run at the same time as the Montreal ePrix double header in Canada.

"We are very pleased to have maintained this level of stability in the five years of the WEC to date, and our 2017 calendar allows us to continue to build on the tradition of endurance racing around the world," Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said. "Our increasing number of fans year on year is proof that returning to a venue at a similar time of year encourages people to make their plans to attend well in advance.

"The Le Mans 24 Hours needs no introduction, but we know that audiences in countries such as Mexico can only increase as their knowledge and interest in the WEC grows. We look forward to an exciting 2017 starting with our first visit to Italy."

CEO of WEC Gerard Neveu says the selection of Monza as host of the Prologue will be seen as a crowd pleaser with much easier accessibility to the Milan circuit compared to Paul Ricard.

"The opportunity to start our season at Monza is one we are sure will please competitors, fans and media alike," Neveu said. "We hope that our calendar not only meets the expectations and requirements of all our partners and competitors, and makes economic and logistical sense, but also that it fits in with the increasing number of events that each venue hosts."

2017 FIA World Endurance Championship Provisional Calendar**

24/25 March The WEC Prologue, Monza (Italy)

16 April 6 Hours of Silverstone (UK)

06 May WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)

17/18 June Le Mans 24 Hours (France)

16 July 6 Hours of N?rburgring (Germany)

03 September 6 Hours of Mexico(Mexico)

16 September 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (USA)

15 October 6 Hours of Fuji (Japan)

05 November 6 Hours of Shanghai (China)

18 November 6 Hours of Bahrain (Bahrain)

** Subject to approval by the FIA World Motor Sport Council