The dates of Spa-Francorchamps’ prominent endurance races are now under question following new measures put into place by the Belgian government that will prohibit mass events until at least the end of August.
Announced on Wednesday by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, Belgium will extend its current lockdown measures until May 3, while there will be no large spectator gatherings, such as summer festivals, until “at least” Aug. 31.
The measures could impact the Total 24 Hours of Spa, currently scheduled for July 25-26, as well as rounds of the European Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship that are provisionally slated for Aug. 9 and 15, respectively.
The Intelligent Money British GT Championship, meanwhile, is also due to hold a race at the circuit on July 19 alongside the fellow SRO Motorsports Group-organized French FFSA GT Championship.
SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel admitted to Sportscar365 last week that its traditional date for the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli and GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup centerpiece was a “question mark” due to the expected suspension of festival-style events that bring in thousands of people to the country every summer.
“The government in Belgium has already indicated that summer music festivals could be suspended, so we have a question mark on the 24 Hours of Spa,” Ratel said last week.
It’s unclear if the 24H Spa could be run without spectators or whether the a closed-door event, featuring upwards of 70 teams plus support series, would not qualify under the loosely termed “mass event”.
Ratel has organized several contingency plans for his championships should races be forced to be canceled, although it’s unclear if Spa could be rescheduled for later in the year.
Both the ELMS and WEC races, meanwhile, had already been rescheduled due to August dates due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused havoc on race calendars globally.
Sportscar365 has reached out to the WEC for comment on the latest development.