Next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours will be run behind closed gates, the ACO reversing its initial decision to allow a limited number of spectators in light of France’s latest COVID-19 numbers.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest was hoping to provide access to 50,000 fans on September 19/20 by channeling groups of 5000 individuals to ten special “fan villages” located around the track and separated from each other.
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However, after consulting with the local government of the Sarthe region recently, the ACO has been left with no other choice but to scrap its plan and close Le Mans to the public for the first time in its history.
“Over the past few weeks, we have looked at many ways in which we could hold our event in September with fans present, albeit in limited numbers,” said ACO president Pierre Fillon.
“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.”
Le Mans will promote its race through its digital platforms and offer fans an opportunity “to gain an exclusive insight of what goes on behind the scenes” at the classic endurance event.
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