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Budget Cuts Among ACO’s ‘Sustainability Measures’

ACO planning out measures to ensure long-term survival amid health, economic crises…

Photo: MPS Agency

24 Hours of Le Mans organizer the ACO has outlined a set of ‘sustainability measures’ including budget cuts as part of its management of the economic difficulties arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

ACO President Pierre Fillon said that the organization has “recorded declining economic results” so far this year and is working to implement saving strategies for the future.

A statement from the ACO said that “budget cuts, postponements of projects and a reduction in the wage bill” are on the cards as it seeks to “guarantee the survival” of its activities in the coming years.

The ACO is also looking to join the French state’s ‘temporary unemployment’ scheme which has helped businesses affected by the pandemic and its economic consequences.

These measures are being considered in “discussions with elected officials and unions”, according to the statement.

One of the ACO’s most significant challenges this year has been the cancellation or modification of events on the Le Mans sporting schedule due to coronavirus restrictions.

Both of its biggest endurance races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours Motos – recently went ahead behind closed doors while the 24 Hours Karting in August and the 24 Hours Camions for trucks in November have both been canceled.

Last weekend the Le Mans Bugatti circuit held the French motorcycle Grand Prix, which included an allocation of 5,000 trackside spectators for the Moto GP round.

Three club meetings are also due to be held at Le Mans in the coming weeks.

“This year has been particularly delicate for the ACO, faced like many players in the world of sport and events, with the health and economic crises resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic,” explained Fillon.

“We are extremely proud, thanks to the exceptional mobilization of all the teams, to have been able to organize the 24 Hours Motos, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and even recently the French Grand Prix, but we must be realistic. We have recorded declining economic results.

“To prepare for 2021, which will not take place according to the usual criteria both in terms of the number of events on-site and in terms of welcoming spectators, we must take certain essential decisions to protect our activities.

“Saving measures have therefore been presented. These concrete elements are carried out in accordance with the values ​​of the ACO, within a united team ready to take up these unprecedented challenges.”

The ACO statement went on to say that the organization expects 2021 to present similar challenges to this year, in terms of financial intake and public reception.

In addition to putting on endurance events for a variety of disciplines, the ACO is also involved in developing the Le Mans circuit complex, including overseeing the construction of a new pit building by 2023 for the centenary of the 24-hour car race’s first edition.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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