Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Honda Indy Toronto will not be held in July. On Friday, the city announced an extension of cancelling permits for major events through the summer, with the IndyCar Series race being one of them. Nevertheless, race officials will make efforts to move the date.
The cancellations fall into two categories by attendance size: restrictions on events with more than 250 people like Honda Indy Toronto run through the end of July, while those with more than 25,000 like various city festivals will last through the end of August. Although the City of Toronto’s press release noted the “resumption or cancellation of professional sporting events is not included in this decision”, the IndyCar race is specifically mentioned as being affected. However, the city will also form a program to help such events recover from the expected financial hit.
“It is with deep regret that we are forced to extend the cancellation of large festivals to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Toronto mayor John Tory stated. “Special events and festivals are critical to the livability, vitality and economic success of Toronto, and that is why we are launching the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program to ensure that when we defeat COVID-19, these festivals can return safely and contribute to Toronto’s economic recovery.”
Honda Indy Toronto, originally scheduled for 10–12 July, has hosted IndyCar since 2009, and was previously a staple of the Champ Car World Series. Among its support series are the Road to Indy championships, Stadium Super Trucks, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, and IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. Earlier in the day, the GT3 series revealed a revised calendar that omitted Toronto, while the Pinty’s Series axed three dates on its schedule and postponed two others.
The IndyCar Series is currently set to kick off its season on 6 June at Texas Motor Speedway with no fans after every event prior was postponed.
SST had already begun its year in February with the Australian Boost Mobile Super Trucks, but both championships have not run a race since due to the pandemic pushing off their rounds. Such lost dates include the Grand Prix of Long Beach in support of IndyCar and three Supercars Championship dates in April and May. In 2019, the trucks returned to Toronto for the first time since 2016.
Despite the situation, event officials hope to reschedule the race.
“In anticipation of the municipal guidelines announced today for holding events, preparations and discussions have been ongoing with the City of Toronto, Exhibition Place, Honda Canada and INDYCAR to explore alternate date options for 2020,” read a statement.
Rescheduling a street circuit is typically a difficult endeavour as the race’s sanctioning body would have to coordinate with local officials to find an appropriate date and begin constructing the circuit accordingly. For example, IndyCar’s original season opener at St. Petersburg was called off in March, but the next two months saw a successful effort to reschedule the Grand Prix to October as the finale.
Still, with many logistical hurdles to clear, it is common for the races to be cancelled entirely, as is the case with Formula One‘s Monaco Grand Prix.