Le Mans Will No Longer Close Out The 2019/2020 WEC Season
Having already confirmed that this year’s re-scheduled 24 Hours of Le Mans will now take place on 19-20 September, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest has today announced further significant chances to both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 World Endurance Championship ‘super seasons’.
Le Mans, originally set to close the 2019-2020 season, now becomes the penultimate round, and follows the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, which has been bumped from 16 March to 15 August. The newly instated 8 Hours of Bahrain will now bring the curtain down as the season finale on 21 November, replacing the now officially cancelled 1000 Miles of Sebring.
Nope, not the 12 Hours of Sebring, relax. IMSA’s halo race will now bookend the calendar at the other end, the 68th edition of Florida’s biggest endurance event having been given a provisional 11-14 November re-schedule date.
This year’s Le Mans had originally been scheduled for 14-16 June, only to be postponed due to on-going concerns regarding COVID-19. Though the new schedule is, understandably, still subject to change, the green flag is now set to drop at 14.30pm local time on 19-20 September.
Interestingly, despite hefty changes to every motor racing calendar, this means Le Mans will still take place the month prior to the Indy 500, the latter having also been rescheduled for health concerns to August 23.
“The evolution of this global health crisis has left us with little choice,” explains Gérard Neveu, CEO of the WEC. “It is today impossible to consider organising an international motorsport event before the summer, so we have rearranged the calendar accordingly while keeping the same number of events on the schedule.
“However, we must be prepared for some big changes for next season because we will have to incorporate many parameters, starting with the inevitable economic difficulties that are to come. For the time being our overriding concern is for everyone’s good health, and we hope that everyone will take good care of themselves and their loved ones in the weeks to come.”
Understandably, with the 2019/2020 WEC super season having now ballooned out to 14 months, the ACO has confirmed that the 2020-2021 WEC season, in which the more production car-focused ‘hypercar’ category will replace the prototype-exclusive LMP1 class, will be “completely re-worked” and fans shouldn’t expect a start date before March 2021.
*Images courtesy of Alex Sobran. You can check out Alex’s full experience of the 2017 event HERE.