After initially being hopeful of staging the event with a limited capacity crowd, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) has confirmed that the 2020 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours will now be held behind closed doors.
The race had already been postponed from its traditional June spot due to the Covid-19 pandemic, though fans had been able to purchase tickets through partnered travel agencies in order to attend in September.
In a statement by the ACO, it has now been confirmed as no longer viable due to safety concerns. Fans will instead be offered a behind-the-scenes look into how the Le Mans race takes place over digital platforms throughout the event from home.
“The 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans will go down in the annals of history as, sadly, the world’s greatest endurance race will be run this year with no spectators trackside,” ACO president Pierre Fillon said.
“Over the last 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.
“You don’t compromise where safety is concerned. Fans will not miss out altogether. They may not be at Le Mans, but our media teams and service providers will bring Le Mans to them!
“We are sure that we can count on everyone’s support and understanding at this time.”
Last month, race organisers declared that the race would be open to fans who had already purchased tickets ahead of the race, though no more would be sold as to limit the capacity to 5000 attendees.
Plans had been drawn up as to allow fans to attend the postponed race by separating attendees into different fan villages around the circuit as a way of limiting potential spread of the virus. Social distancing was to be encouraged and sanitiser made readily available on-site also.
Face masks had been made compulsory for those over the age of 11, and scrutineering for the race was made unavailable for fans to attend.
Those who had tickets to this years event will be contacted shortly over vouchers according to the Le Mans website.