A week after its initial suspension of racing permits to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, Motorsport UK announced Tuesday it will extend the ban until “at least” 30 June. It had originally been scheduled to run through 30 April.
“This move provides clear guidance to event organisers, venues, competitors, officials and volunteer marshals of the role that Motorsport UK must play in supporting the broader UK public health agenda,” a Motorsport UK statement said. “In recent days the feedback from our members and the community was a need for increased clarity to allow them to plan appropriately and, should the need arise, put in place necessary contingency measures.”
The announcement comes a day after British prime minister Boris Johnson delivered a speech to address the pandemic, including the decision to lock down the country for three weeks. Motorsport UK, who provides permits and sanctioning for series like British GT and British Touring Cars, follows in the path that many other racing bodies have taken to contain the situation.
“Motorsport UK has a vital role to play with its community in re-inforcing that, at this time of national emergency, we must all stay at home to play our part in protecting the NHS and ultimately saving lives,” Motorsport UK chairman David Richards stated. “Today, the government have required that we effectively lock-down for a period of three weeks, however given that the most vulnerable in our society are required to isolate for three months, it is evident that the most responsible course of action was to propose a longer suspension of our sport.
“When we reflect back on this time, it will be a brief, but vital, hiatus from our everyday motorsport life and we must put this in perspective. This is a time of national unity and we need to come together with the broader public community to do all we can to support this battle and ultimately save lives.”
UPDATE: Due to the extension, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announced later Tuesday that the American SpeedFest 8 at Brands Hatch will be postponed. The weekend, first planned for 6–7 June, was going to serve as the season opener after the original kickoff in Valencia was moved for pandemic reasons.
“American SpeedFest 8 at Brands Hatch will be postponed from its original date on 6-7 June, following the decision by Motorsport UK to extend the suspension of motor racing until at least 30 June,” the Euro Series said. “Event organiser MSV and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series are working together to secure a new date and an announcement will be made in due course.”