The 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours will race with spectators when it runs from 19-20 September, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) has announced.
Moved from its traditional June date due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a statement on the event’s official website confirms that fans who have already bought their tickets for the legendary endurance race will be allowed entry to the Circuit de la Sarthe, although further ticket sales remain suspended.
“Exceptional circumstances call for an exceptional event,” the statement read. “Due to restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the race programme will be more streamlined and crowds thinner for this year’s event.
“Ticket sales have been suspended in the hope that conditions improve, enabling current restrictions on large crowds to be lifted. Only ACO members and anyone who already holds a ticket for the race will be admitted to the circuit as a spectator. ACO members, spectators and authorised resellers who have already booked and paid for grandstand tickets, camping areas, parking spaces or ACO member hospitality areas may purchase the corresponding tickets for the race.
“Solidarity and responsibility are the core principles for this year’s event. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest is keen to emphasise the values of endurance racing and the team spirit that has reigned over Le Mans since 1923. Tribute will be paid to frontline workers in this crisis who have been relentless in their devotion. They deserve our thanks and our support.
“Human health and the environment are interlinked and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest is fully committed to the cause for sustainable, zero-emission mobility. A new category for hydrogen-electric prototypes at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans will be an achievement in terms of impact on the energy transition.”
In addition to the statement, ACO President Pierre Fillon assured racegoers that the event would “remain world-class”.
“Responsibility is one of our founding principles,” he said. “We are therefore sure that our loyal spectators will understand our position and support our decision.
“We will not be breaking any attendance records this year. However, all the magic of the race will remain intact and the spectator experience – trackside or from a distance – will remain world-class.”
Set to resume this weekend in Austria, Formula 1 will get its 2020 season underway with a complete absence of fans, although if Le Mans is any indication, crowds could be allowed to return later in the year.