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Le Mans 2020 - The First 'Miss'....

Le Mans 2021

Ayse's 'Occasional Blog'

Sunday 21st June 2020

....Just Waiting



I have tickets, I have a ferry booking, the accommodation is sorted.   The only question that remains is - will I be going?  I should be leaving for France in 83 days and the race should be starting in 90 days.  Lockdowns are beginning to ease and some sport is taking place, albeit largely behind closed doors.  The Spa WEC race, the traditional Le Mans 'curtain-raiser' is going ahead - but without spectators.  That's a month or so before Le Mans.  So what are our chances of being at Le Mans?

Personally, I don't think there can be any doubt now that the Le Mans 24 Hours will happen in September.  I think it is highly unlikely that the ACO will postpone the race further to October or November, as was mooted (I'm not sure how seriously) a few weeks back.  I certainly don't think there is any possibility at all that the ACO will cancel the race - unless France gets hit by a Covid-19 'second wave' between now and then.  So if it goes ahead, what do we think the possibilities actually are?  

Behind Closed Doors

I just don't see it.  Another month could make all the difference, provided that things continue to improve.  The loss of revenue to the ACO would be enormous as they would have to either refund ticket payments or defer all tickets to 2021.  This would effectively mean writing-off the revenue from the race for a year.  I guess they could afford to do that, but I suspect they will do everything they can to avoid it.  

Locals Only

This must be far more likely.  Attendance open only to French residents?  Or even just Le Mans residents - or some defined geographical area around Le Mans?  It would be interesting to know just how many residents of Le Mans actually go to the event, I suspect its a much smaller number than you might imagine.  That could enable the ACO to control the numbers to the currently 'allowed' figure of under 5000.  

Members Only

In a sense, as a member, I'm kind of hoping this might feature in the plans.  But I've no idea how many members the ACO have and how many of those have tickets for the event.  There is then the issue of how that could work with groups.  Our group (of eight this year) have only three memberships between us.  So that would be pretty limiting.  Even if a member and one guest was allowed to attend, that would still leave us two short.  Still, I suspect it could be presented on a 'take it or leave it' basis.   You would also like to hope that the ACO would 'reward' loyalty.  Our group has a LOT of attendances at Le Mans over the last 30+ years, but whether that would count for anything, who knows...

Full Attendance

This would seem to fall into the 'pigs might fly' category of possibilities.  Unless the French government is confident that France will be fully open for business again by September, it just isn't going to happen.  

There are so many questions.  If there are (some) spectators, where will they be allowed to be?  Sitting cheek by jowl in grandstands or on the tribunes would probably be out of the question.  Would all of the normal access points be available?  How would it be policed?  How would the ACO check that everyone attending was fit and healthy?  It sounds daft but you would only need two or three people people infected to pass it on to potentially hundreds or even more.  

There was certainly plenty of encouragement from the ACO during the virtual race that the race proper would go ahead and there have been noises about 'welcoming' people to Le Mans in September.  We are led to believe that some kind of announcement will be made on 30th June.  Until then, we remain on tenterhooks.  

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