For the second year in a row the Le Mans 24 Hours has been postponed from its traditional June date due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The annual twice-round-the-clock challenge was originally supposed to take its up its normal place on the second weekend of June, but will now shift back by over two months, to the weekend of 21st-22nd August.
The decision was taken by the Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), which organises the race, and the FIA to ensure that spectators could attend the event. France has recently seen a resurgence in cases of the coronavirus and with vaccines still being rolled out across the country it was looking increasingly unlikely that spectators would be allowed to attend an even in June that traditionally attracts around 250,000 people.
The Le Mans 24 Hours was postponed until September last year – only the fourth time in its history it had been moved from its traditional slot other than during the Second World War – and ran behind closed doors as the pandemic’s second wave hit. Plans had originally been put in place to create ‘bubbles’ of spectators with no more than 5,000 people in each, but the decision was eventually taken to run without fans.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Although it was a tough decision to make, it is the right one. Holding the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind closed doors for the second year running would be unthinkable. We are therefore doing all we can to avoid that happening and to give competitors a clear view of the whole season. We are working very hard to put on a safe event, with all the necessary health precautions in place. This year’s race promises to be another thriller as the new Hypercar class makes its debut.”
The rest of the World Endurance Championship’s races, which kick off in Portimao next month before moving to the traditional pre-Le Mans race at Spa in May, are unaffected by the change.
The ACO expects to announce information on tickets at the end of next month.