Start, Le Mans, 2018

Le Mans 24 Hours postponed to September

World Endurance Championship

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The Le Mans 24 Hours has been postponed three months from its traditional June date due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Automobile Club de L’Ouest confirmed the change of dates, which will see this year’s race take place on September 19th to 20th.

“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,” said ACO president Pierre Fillon.

“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.”

Races cancelled
List of races cancelled or postponed due to the Coronavirus
WEC and ELMS CEO Gerard Neveu added his backing for the postponement, saying it was the “right decision”.

Another major French race, the Pau Grand Prix, is also facing a postponement due to the Coronavirus. The event on the street circuit in the Pyrennes city, which was due to be held on May 22nd to 24th, has been pushed back “to a later date, from three to 12 months, without a new date being set at present”, according to the organisers.

Among the other series which confirmed race cancellations today is the Japanese Super Formula championship. Its race at Fuji has now been called off along with its season-opener at Suzuka.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 11 comments on “Le Mans 24 Hours postponed to September”

    1. No one better even think about blaming F1 for the Singapore GP-weekend clash as that weekend had been set for Singapore long before this LM24H-postponement. The last time F1 and LM24H shared a weekend, the criticism was unnecessary enormous given there wasn’t really a choice to avoid it on that occasion.

      1. @jerejj Last time there was a clash Ecclestone went out of his way to make sure that there was a clash to stop F1 drivers from doing what Hulkenberg did in 2015. Maybe there wasn’t much room to avoid the clash, but given the choice of a double header between 2 european races and one between Europe and North America, Ecclestone pushed for the latter. That’s why there was the criticism. Furthermore, the F1 race start time won’t clash with the Le Mans finish time, like it did back in 2016, which back then was further cause for bitterness from the fans’ side, and justifiably so.

        1. @xenn1 Yes, there will be a direct clash with the timing. Supposing the 24-hour race takes place from 15:00 on Saturday till 15:00 the next day, and the Singapore GP commences at 14:10 UTC+2 (12:10 UTC). Do you still actually believe that it was a deliberate act to prevent F1-drivers from taking part in this annual event? I never bought into those claims that lack concrete evidence. The reason behind that move was simple, and it was a result of other changes from the provisional 2016 calendar to the final 2016 calendar to accommodate for the summer-break featuring three consecutive weekends without races.

          1. @jerejj The clash is still there, yes, but you can still catch the critical moments of both races without losing too much, unlike in 2016 where the F1 race start time was the same as the Le Mans finish time, which led to many fans having to make a choice and miss the iconic moment of the Toyota breaking down in the start finish straight.
            As of your second argument: Ecclestone has never been one to shy away from doing underhanded stuff, and this was just an example. Here is an article from this very site discussing the topic. And as i already mentioned: there were alternatives. This fact, combined with Ecclestone’s ruthless pursuit of keeping F1 on a pedestal and distanced from the rest of the world, does convince me that he at the very least pushed for the date clash, if not all out force it into the F1 calendar. Also of note: the F1 events clashing with the WEC calendar went from 3 in 2015 to 6 in 2016.

            1. @xenn1 @jerej The last 50 minutes of Le Mans will clash with the first 50 of the Singaporean Grand Prix, so the “missing critical parts of the race” problem still exists. If it had been in the middle of Le Mans’ night, this would not be such an issue.

              However, on this occasion I believe Le Mans was limited by when it can reasonably expect to be able to stage the race, given the nature of the venue and the developing pandemic situation. And it’s not like F1’s calendar is set in stone either.

            2. @xenn1 – What alternatives? To circle around that one weekend, more reshuffling would’ve been needed, which is easier said than done. As for the ”from 3 in 2015 to 6 in 2016” part: That was purely coincidental. You can’t tie these things together.
              @alianora-la-canta – F1 race calendars for each season generally get set in stone by the final WMSC-meeting of the previous year. The Singapore GP is unlikely to move at this point.

      2. GtisBetter (@)
        18th March 2020, 22:04

        I’m pretty sure people have plenty of other things to worry about then f1 and Le Mans being on the same weekend, even in september.

    2. There will be a lot more night racing in September as compared to June.

      1. @sterling Because of earlier sunset-times, yes. Around 22:00 (should be around 20:00) on the original slot vs., around 20:00 (should be around 18:00) on the new slot.

    3. Good on the ACO for getting this sorted so far in advance. This, I’m sure, makes things easier for a lot of people depending on the schedule.

      I’m expecting “Super Season Mark II” to result from this, unless the ACO wishes to have a season with no Le Mans and a one-week turnaround between the 2020/2021 opener in Silverstone and Le Mans’ scrutineering (which is the Sunday before the race, with all cars remaining on site for the intervening week).

    4. Get the heck out of here! I don’t believe this one. That will be some Le Mans race.

    Comments are closed.