The 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours has been postponed from its traditional June slot to September 19-20 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The World Endurance Championship had already cancelled the two preceding rounds at Sebring and Spa, but hoped it could preserve its Le Mans finale’s June 13-14 date.
But with the situation in France – which has gone into a full lockdown for at least the next fortnight – worsening, race organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has decided to move Le Mans back three months.
ACO president Pierre Fillon said: “Postponing the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2020, originally scheduled for 13/14th June, is the appropriate solution in face of the exceptional health circumstances that we are all going through today.
“It goes without saying that we will make every effort to ensure the safety and quality of our events.
“First of all, I want to ask everyone to take no risk for themselves, their families and others. Today it is a question of stopping the spread of this virus. I would also like to spare warm thoughts for all the medical personnel working to protect our health.
“We are more than ever working as one team together with our competitors, partners, fans, media, medical services, organisation teams and marshals.”
🔔BREAKING – Provisional schedule 24 Hours of Le Mans 2020
❌No TEST DAY
👉13 -14 September : Administrative and technical checks (place to be confirmed)
👉 16 – 17 September : Free and qualifying sessions
👉19 -20 September : RACE #LeMans24 @FIAWEC https://t.co/zlTSRhDWFE
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) March 25, 2020
Le Mans 2020 is the finale of the current LMP1 rules package before the WEC’s hypercar era begins.
It will also settle the close title fight between the two Toyota LMP1 crews, with Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway leading team-mates Brendon Hartley, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi by just five points after the five events held before the pandemic halted the calendar.
Rebellion’s Bruno Senna, Norman Nato and Gustavo Menezes are also still in championship contention, 19 points behind the leading Toyota trio.
The 1968 Le Mans was the only other occasion the race has been held in September, with that edition postponed amid social unrest in France.
Otherwise 84 of the 87 Le Mans held so far have been in June, with the inaugural race in 1923 (held in May) and the 1956 edition (held in July) the only other exceptions.