The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced the FIA World Endurance Championship into some adjustments to its 2021 calendar. The 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans has been moved to mid-summer, while Portimão and Spa-Francorchamps have swapped places.
The biggest news is that the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been postponed for the second year in succession. This time the race organisers, the ACO, have chosen to move the endurance classic to the weekend of 21/22 August.
The hope is that vaccination programmes, especially in relatively hard hit France, will by then have progressed enough to allow spectators to attend. Fans attending the race in the usual June slot would be difficult to imagine at present.
„Although it was a tough decision to make, it is the right one,“ said ACO President Pierre Fillon. “Holding the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind closed doors for the second year running would be unthinkable. We are therefore doing all we can to avoid that happening and to give competitors a clear view of the whole season.”
Portimão takes Le Mans slot, Prologue in Spa
There has also been a reshuffle in the calendar order for 2021, with Portimão now taking the June slot freed up by the Le Mans postponement. In its place, Spa-Francorchamps will now host the first round of the new season and the Prologue pre-season test.
Although not as affected by the pandemic as France, Portugal remains under tight restrictions. This had cast doubt on the Prologue and the first round of the season, originally scheduled for 30 March and 4 April respectively.
LMH team Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus had also announced that it would not be able to make it to Portugal in time for the final week of March due to COVID-related logistical issues. The rejigged calendar should allow Glickenhaus to compete as a full-season entry.
Images © WEC-Magazin (Walter Schruff / Ton Kerdijk)
Source: FIA WEC