Continued fears of the Coronavirus have forced the Automobile Club de l’Ouest to postpone the 2020 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a new date pencilled in for September.
The race, scheduled to be the closing event of the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship season, was set to take place across the weekend of 13-14 June, but the pandemic spreading across the globe that has hit motorsport hard, has forced the event to be delayed.
According to a statement from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the race has been postponed “in view of the changing health situation related to the coronavirus and the latest Government guidelines.
“Restrictions are currently in force in France and other countries around the world to curb the spread of coronavirus. Consequently, race organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has decided, in conjunction with the Féderation Internationale Automobile (FIA) and the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC), to postpone the 24 Hours of Le Mans originally set for 13-14 June 2020.”
The ‘Most Appropriate Way Forward’ – Pierre Fillon
Pierre Fillon, the President of Automobile Club de l’Ouest, says postponing the event was the only way to go with the Coronavirus pandemic ongoing, and he says a new date for the race will be announced shortly.
“Postponing the 24 Hours of Le Mans from the original dates in June is now the most appropriate way forward in the current exceptional circumstances,” said Fillon.
“First and foremost, I urge everyone to avoid putting themselves, their loved ones and others at risk. The most important thing today is to curtail the spread of this virus. Our thoughts go out to medical staff working relentlessly for the sake of us all.
“The postponement of the 24 Hours of Le Mans means making changes to the WEC and ELMS calendars and we shall announce the new dates shortly. The safety and quality of our events will not be compromised.
“Competitors, sponsors, fans, media, medical services and organisers – it is time to pull together, more than ever before.”
“It is the right decision to delay in light of the current situation” – Gerard Neveu
Gerard Neveu, the CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series, said it was the right decision under the circumstances to delay the race, with the start of the following season also set to be affected by the postponement.
“It is the right decision to delay in light of the current situation,” said Neveu. “We are now working on revising our WEC and ELMS calendars for the remainder of this season, and for the WEC’s Season 9 which was due to start in September 2020.
“We will come back to you in the coming days with more news for both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series.”