The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused the rescheduling of one the biggest races in the world.
The 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been postponed from June 13-14 to Sept. 19-20.
Race organizers said they decided to move the sports car endurance classic because of “restrictions in force in France and other countries around the world to curb the spread of coronavirus.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans has attracted some of IMSA’s best teams in the past. There was talk of rekindling the era celebrated in the movie “Ford vs. Ferrari” by a January announcement in Daytona Beach, Florida, that Le Mans should become more of a crossover event in the future.
The Sept. 19-20 weekend currently is scheduled to be a busy one for racing. NASCAR planned to conclude the first round of its playoffs Sept. 19 at Bristol Motor Speedway while IndyCar expected to conclude its season Sept. 20 at Laguna Seca Raceway.
As of now, NASCAR and IndyCar are hoping to resume their seasons in May.
Here’s the release about the 2020 postponement of the 24 Hours of Le Mans from the race’s website:
In view of the changing health situation related to the coronavirus and the latest Government guidelines, the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans, initially scheduled for 13-14 June, has been postponed until 19-20 September 2020.
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 postponement of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will affect the FIA WEC calendars; the revised dates will be communicated shortly. The European Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup and Ligier European Series Calendars will also be updated. All this information will be released in due course as will the exact schedule for the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest takes this opportunity to express its support and recognition of the hard work accomplished by healthcare workers during these trying times.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “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.
“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”
Gérard Neveu, CEO of FIA WEC and ELMS: “It is the right decision to delay in light of the current situation. 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.”
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) March 18, 2020