Start of UK motor sport season delayed until July

BTCC

BTCC, F3, GT and historic races face more cancellations or postponements as Motorsport UK reacts to latest coronavirus crackdown

BTCC at Snetterton in 2019

Snetterton currently stands as the BTCC season opener in late July

BTCC

The start of the British motor racing season has been pushed back until at least July, following Boris Johnson’s announcement of a coronavirus lockdown for at least three weeks.

All permits for national car racing events have been suspended until June 30 at the earliest.

The announcement by Motorsport UK, which governs four-wheeled motorsport in the UK, currently leaves Snetterton as the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship on 25-26 July — originally the sixth weekend of the season.

As it stands the British F3 and GT championships will begin the year at Spa on 18 and 19 July, with the forced cancellation or postponement of rounds at Oulton Park, Snetterton, Silverstone and Donington Park, which were due to run in April, May and June.

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Among this spring’s affected historic events are the Donington Historic Festival, scheduled for May 1-3, and the Brands Hatch Masters Festival on May 23-24.

“Motorsport UK has a vital role to play with its community in reinforcing that, at this time of national emergency, we must all stay at home to play our part in protecting the NHS and ultimately saving lives,” said Motorsport UK Chairman, David Richards.

“Today, the government have required that we effectively lock-down for a period of three weeks, however given that the most vulnerable in our society are required to isolate for three months, it is evident that the most responsible course of action was to propose a longer suspension of our sport.

“When we reflect back on this time, it will be a brief, but vital, hiatus from our everyday motorsport life and we must put this in perspective. This is a time of national unity and we need to come together with the broader public community to do all we can to support this battle and ultimately save lives.”

The disruption had been anticipated for several days. Last week, Alan Gow, the British Touring Car Championship boss told Motor Sport that he anticipated racing would begin as late as July.

“We’ll have to be creative and there will be a lot of back-to-back weekends, but the teams are up for it,” he said. “We will do what is required to get the season done.”

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