Le Mans 24 Hours 2020 to be held without spectators amid COVID-19 spike

The rescheduled Le Mans 24 Hours in September will take place behind closed doors in a reverse of the decision announced in June to allow a limited crowd

Le Mans 24 Hours 2020 to be held without spectators amid COVID-19 spike

Race organiser the Automobile Club de l'Ouest has decided that it is is untenable to allow even a limited number of spectators to attend the double-points round of the World Endurance Championship on 19/20 September after discussions with the local authority, the Sarthe Prefecture.

The move comes in the wake a spike in COVID-19 cases in France this month.

ACO president Pierre Fillon said: "Over the past few weeks, we have looked at many ways in which we could hold our event in September with fans present, albeit in limited numbers.

"However, given the constraints involved in organising a festival-scale event over several days in the current situation, we have opted with the local government authorities to hold the race behind closed doors.

"There were still too many question-marks regarding health and safety.

"We know that our fans will be as disappointed as we are by this decision but, with public health in the balance, it really wasn't a difficult call to make."

The ACO announced in June that it would be able to accommodate a small number of spectators and subsequently revealed that these would be accommodated in social bubbles, which it called 'fan villages', each made up of 5000 fans.

It never put a firm number on the size of the crowd that it was going to allow, but it is understood that there would have been approximately 10 of these villages around the 8.48-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.

The ACO statement on Monday stressed that fans will be able to "gain an exclusive insight of what goes on behind the scenes" via Le Mans' digital platforms.

"They may not be at Le Mans, but our media teams and service providers will bring Le Mans to them," Fillon added.

Those with tickets for the race will be contacted by the ticket office.

The WEC is due to resume behind closed doors at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium this weekend, and follows last weekend's ACO-organised European Le Mans Series round at the same venue won by the United Autosports ORECA of Phil Hanson/Filipe Albuquerque.

shares
comments
IMSA team WeatherTech Racing bolsters Le Mans GTE Pro field with Ferrari

Previous article

IMSA team WeatherTech Racing bolsters Le Mans GTE Pro field with Ferrari

Next article

Why Le Mans magic will miss a crucial ingredient in 2020

Why Le Mans magic will miss a crucial ingredient in 2020
Load comments
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
13h
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021
Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship Plus

Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship

Beyond the slender grid of headline-grabbing hypercars, there are numerous subplots and changes to look out for in the new season of the WEC, which gets underway at Spa this weekend. Here's the seven key things you need to know about

WEC
Apr 30, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Plus

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Plus

How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no works Aston Martins in the GTE-Pro class. As its new era in Formula 1 begins, Aston leaves behind a legacy of success courtesy of its Prodrive-run factory programme that was a hit from the word go in 2005

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Plus

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
Top 10 moments of an underrated British great Plus

Top 10 moments of an underrated British great

Brian Redman was one of the best sportscar drivers of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a three-time champion on the fearsome American Formula 5000 scene. To celebrate his 84th birthday Autosport contacted him about his best races – and he decided to write the piece himself…

WEC
Mar 9, 2021