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Le Mans to be raced behind closed doors due to virus

Le Mans

FILE – French pilot Olivier Lombard drives his Green GT LMPH2G “mission H24” during a training session on the Le Mans race track on July 8, 2020 in Le Mans. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)

One of the world’s most celebrated car races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be contested behind closed doors this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced on Monday.

The annual endurance test attracted a massive 252,000 fans in 2019 and several movies have been made about the event including the cult ‘Le Mans’ starring Steve McQueen in 1971.

“Sadly, the world’s greatest endurance race will be run this year with no spectators trackside,” Pierre Fillon from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest said on Monday.

“Given the constraints involved in organizing 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,” he said.

The 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de la Sarthe will be held as scheduled on 19-20 September, starting at 14:30 local time (1230 GMT).

Unlike Grand Prix racing, which develops the fastest cars, endurance tests such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans are designed to produce sporty but reliable, fuel-efficient road vehicles.

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