Le Mans 24-hour race postponed from June to September

AFP
Toyota's TS050 Hybrid LMP1 team won last year's Le Mans (AFP Photo/Fred TANNEAU)
Toyota's TS050 Hybrid LMP1 team won last year's Le Mans (AFP Photo/Fred TANNEAU)

Paris (AFP) - The Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, one of the traditional highlights of the motor racing calendar, has been postponed from June to September 19-20 because of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers said Wednesday.

The organisers said they had taken the decision "as a consequence of the health situation linked to the coronavirus and the current restrictions in France and the world".

This season's 1000 Miles of Sebring was cancelled due to a travel ban to the US from mainland Europe, as was the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

The decision will impact the 2020-2021 World Endurance Championship campaign which was set to start on September 5 at Britain's Silverstone.

Other motor racing events to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak including Formula One, the World Rally Championship and Moto GP.

The season-beginning Australian Grand Prix was called off hours before its start last Sunday and earlier on Wednesday F1 said it will bring its summer shutdown period forward to March and April and extend it by a week.

The move was made in order to free up the August break for a racing calendar decimated by the deadly virus that has forced organisers to postpone the first four events of the season.

Rally Mexico, the third of the campaign, was cut short by a day last weekend and April's Rally Chile had already been put on hold due to political and social unrest in the south American country.

Next month's Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, the third race on the MotoGP calendar, was moved to November because of the outbreak.

The first and second MotoGP races of the season at Qatar and Thailand have also been hit with the former scrapped and the later rescheduled.

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