The FIA World Endurance Championship has announced that a limited number of fans will be permitted to attend the third round of the 2021 season at Monza, making it the series’ first publicly accessible race since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Spectators will be able to enter the Italian circuit on race day, July 18, by purchasing advanced tickets for distanced seating in a grandstand on the start-finish straight.
A maximum capacity has not been set, with the final number to be defined in accordance with COVID-19 regulations. Automobile Club de l’Ouest President Pierre Fillon told Sportscar365 at Portimao last weekend that “less than 10,000” fans are currently expected.
The most recent WEC race to be staged with public access was the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas in February 2020.
One month later, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, leading to a pause in global motorsport that was followed by a period of WEC races taking place without spectators at Spa, Le Mans and Bahrain last year.
The continued impact of the global health crisis into 2021 prompted the first two rounds of the current season at Spa and Portimao to be held under the same restriction.
The WEC’s first visit to Italy for a race will also mark the first publicly accessible event at Monza this year. The series went to Monza for its Prologue pre-season test in 2017.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to welcome some of our loyal fans back to the WEC,” commented championship CEO Frederic Lequien.
“I would like to thank everyone at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and the Italian authorities for making this possible.
“I’d also like to thank our fans for their patience and continued support.”
Monza joins the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which marks round four of the campaign in August, in allowing limited numbers of spectators through the gates.
The ACO recently announced that up to 50,000 people will be able to visit the WEC’s centerpiece round.
“Too Early” to Make a Call on Fuji Status
The WEC has not made a call on whether it will stage a race in Japan this year, with Fillon saying that it is “too early” to comment on the status of the 6 Hours of Fuji.
Round five of the season is due to take place at Fuji on Sept. 26, five weeks after Le Mans.
Japan currently denies entry to people who have been in certain countries including France, Britain, Germany and the U.S. within 14 days of arrival. Limited exemptions are granted, such as entry for participation in the Olympic Games from July 23 to Aug. 8.
“I think it is too early to answer,” Fillon told Sportscar365 when asked about the status of the Fuji event. “We make a decision at the end of June. It is not to question to manage the race; it’s a question of quarantine.
“We don’t know what will be the situation in September. There is the Olympic Games, but will they open or close after the Olympic Games? We don’t know.”
Lequien added that the WEC is in “permanent contact” with the circuit management team at Fuji Speedway regarding the six-hour race, which was last held in 2019.
It’s understood that the WEC would move to organize a replacement race if the Fuji round cannot go ahead.