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6H Spa Set to Run Behind Closed Doors

Spa set to run without spectators as ACO seeks to maintain its summer endurance races…

Photo: MPS Agency

The FIA World Endurance Championship is set to hold this summer’s Total 6 Hours of Spa behind closed doors, according to series CEO Gerard Neveu.

Speaking during a video call with journalists on Friday, Neveu explained that the WEC is preparing to hold the sixth round of its 2019-20 season without spectators.

The Spa event is scheduled for August 15, two weekends before the Belgian Grand Prix which the national government today approved for a closed-doors running.

Neveu explained that the WEC is “looking for deconfinement” as European nations start to independently ease their restrictions put in place to handle the coronavirus spread.

Last month he indicated that the world championship and the European Le Mans Series would hold future races behind closed doors “if necessary”.

This followed Belgium announcing a ban on ‘mass events’ extending through August which raised questions about whether the WEC’s visit to Spa could go ahead. 

“We have two big meetings in the summer: for the ELMS this is in July at Paul Ricard and for WEC [it’s] at Spa in the middle of August,” said Neveu.

“For all these events, in the summer, the plan is to do [them] behind closed doors at this moment because we have no other option.

“We are working very strongly in the process to apply these behind closed doors. We will make a final announcement in early June.

“We have to wait to know if there is not a second wave [of coronavirus cases]. If not, all the governments will be more flexible including the borders and customs in Europe.”

Neveu confirmed that at the present moment, the WEC and ELMS calendars are “maintained”.

The WEC is also planning to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in September and Bahrain International Circuit in November, while the ELMS – which the ACO also runs – has five meetings planned including a late August fixture at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

“If there is any change, the most concern we can have is about Paul Ricard,” suggested Neveu. “It looks like by August, in Spa, everything is perfectly aligned.

“Formula 1 confirmed this morning that they will do the Grand Prix at the start of August behind closed doors, and we are in exactly the same situation two weeks before.

“Regarding Paul Ricard in July, that’s the one where we have to be careful because we have to make sure that the Italian, German, English teams and so on can cross the border and join.”

The Spa WEC race was originally rescheduled from Apr. 26 to Aug. 15 as the coronavirus pandemic spread through Europe.

This year’s edition will mark the first time in 13 years that the Spa 1000km event has taken place outside of its traditional springtime, pre-Le Mans slot.

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

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