Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, has said that the decision on whether or not the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be announced on April 15th, claiming that ‘whatever happens’, the event will go ahead.
The French endurance classic is in jeopardy amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has already caused the cancellation of the 1000 Miles of Sebring and the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the only rounds remaining before the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship closes at Le Mans, which is currently scheduled for 13-14 June.
The ACO previously postponed the 24H Motos, which was to be held on Le Mans’ Bugatti circuit in April, as well as the opening rounds of the European Le Mans Series in Barcelona and Monza. When asked about the measures and the situation surrounding the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Fillon stated:
“We postponed the 24H Motos because the date was looming, and it was better to give teams and spectators ample warning. The race was scheduled for April – just a few weeks away – and we had very little doubt as to how the situation would evolve.
We chose to give everyone plenty of notice. Following the government announcements, we cancelled or postponed other events scheduled for March and April.”
“For the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we are monitoring the situation and following instructions issued by the authorities. We shall announce our decision on 15 April. Whatever happens, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will go ahead this year.”
Measures taken by the French government have already had their impact on the Le Mans circuit, as the ACO announced the closure of the 24 Hours Museum, all karting activities and all circuits (Bugatti, Maison Blanche, Karting and the driving school) for an determinate amount of time as of Sunday.
“The current environment is extremely unstable, both in France and abroad,” Fillon continued. “New restrictions and recommendations are announced frequently. They differ from country to country, depending on how the virus is spreading and the precautions taken.”
“We are all in this unprecedented situation together. Flexibility is key and we are being as proactive as possible, working on a different set of hypotheses for each event. The ACO’s overriding priority is health and safety and throughout the organisation, including LMEM, ALMEM, M&A Prevention and 40 MA; the leitmotiv is professionalism and responsibility.
Following the latest government announcements, the circuit, museum, karting track and training school are all closed until further notice. These measures are necessary. It’s a question of public health. We know now that such steps are decisive in this matter.”