A statement just issued by the ACO confirms that the Test Day for the Le Mans 24 Hours will not be held in 2020 as the motorsport world attempts to rebuild calendars around the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
It is the first time since 2010 that a Test Day will not be held in the lead-up to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
ACO President Pierre Fillon said:
“We decided not to hold the 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day this year.
“The reason is that competitors would have been overtaxed. As you know, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is now scheduled for 19–20 September. Test Day is usually a fortnight before the race. However, the test is not as old as the race itself and has been skipped on several occasions.
“Two weeks before the race would have meant holding Test Day a week after the 24 Hours Motos, now scheduled for 29–30 August. 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 familiarise themselves with the circuit. We’ll announce the details in April.”
Provisional schedule of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2020
13 and 14 September: Administrative and technical checks (place to be confirmed)
16 and 17 September : Free and qualifying sessions
19 and 20 September: Race
21 September: Post-race technical checks
Test sessions were first introduced in 1959 and were held every year until 1974. They were resumed in 1986-87 then shelved again until 1993. They took place in March, April, May or June and were referred to by a variety of different names but the term Test Day has been in use since 2005.
In 2009 and 2010, in difficult economic times, the Test Day was dropped to reduce costs for competitors and replaced with a compulsory free practice session on the Wednesday before the race.
In response to demand from competitors and manufacturers entering new cars, the Test Day was reinstated in 2011. That year it was held in April, but since 2012 it has taken place on the Sunday two weeks before the race.