The ACO has confirmed that it will not organize a test day for this year’s postponed 24 Hours of Le Mans, marking the first time in ten years the single-day session has been cancelled.
Announced by ACO President Pierre Fillon on Wednesday, the rescheduled race on Sept. 19-20, however, will feature a similar week-long schedule including scrutineering on the Sunday and Monday prior, as well as free practice and qualifying sessions on Sept. 16-17.
Fillon explained the decision to forgo the test day was due to competitors being “overtaxed” amid the expected compressed period of races in the second half of the year once motorsports is expected to resume following the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes one day after the release of IMSA’s adjusted schedule that has seen its round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca moved up by a week to accommodate teams and drivers taking part in Le Mans.
Organizing the test day, which has typically been mandatory for all cars and drivers taking part in the race, would have also created a logistical challenge for the ACO, according to Fillon.
“Two weeks before the race would have meant holding test day a week after the 24 Hours Motos, now scheduled for Aug 29-30,” he explained.
“Holding two major events within three weeks of each other is already a challenge and we had to rethink our priorities.
“The outcome was to sacrifice the test day. We shall be holding free practice sessions during race week to allow time to test machines and for inexperienced drivers to familiarize themselves with the circuit. We’ll announce the details in April.”
While introduced in 1959 and run every year through 1974, the test day was most recently canceled in 2009 and 2010 due to the global economic recession.
Having returned in 2011 but in an April date, it had been run every year on the Sunday two weeks prior to the race since 2012.
It’s unclear if additional practice sessions will be held for competitors on race week, as had been the case in 2009 and 2010.