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Grasping The Few Opportunities Presented By A Global Crisis

FIA WEC finds a solution to a number of looming issues

In amongst the singularly awful circumstances of the current crisis, currently the human toll, and increasingly the economic toll too of COVID-19, there are thousands of tableaux being played out in all manner of areas of everyday life.

The difficulty of not knowing when it will be safe to restart normal life is simply immense and our sport, and our business, is absolutely no different in that regard.

For individuals and organisations involved in motorsport there are immediate consequences of our current position. Beyond these days though there are very significant issues still to come, even beyond the overwhelming concerns of whether friends and family will escape the reach of this cruel and deadly challenge.

Firstly the global industrial and business shutdown is having a catastrophic impact on every level of commerce – production, sales, logistics and the complex financial structures that underpin all of that.

Put simply we simply don’t know yet what the ultimate picture is going to be even by this coming summer.

It is important though to have a plan, and contingency planning has often not been the sport’s strong suit! The steps taken today by the ACO and LMEM, and the ongoing efforts of others – including SRO and IMSA – show that lessons are being learned, and the necessary flexibility is being employed.

Beyond that however there are associated challenges, established plans that are already being impacted by the current situation.

And happily a degree of lateral thinking has been employed to deal with several of those at once.

In truth the move to a winter-based calendar from 2017/18 presented more challenges than opportunities and the enforced break from racing has given the WEC an opportunity to reset that process, a decision they have grasped with a vengeance.

In particular that’s because it also presents a further opportunity, to give much-needed extra time to the three confirmed Le Mans Hypercar outfits:

Toyota, who have made it clear that they would not have been in a position to join with their new car from the start of the initially planned season as a result of the current shutdown, Glickenhaus were set only to contest the 2021 races anyway and ByKolles (who knows?).

The decision to reset the calendar clock then to March 2021 gives much-needed respite to the aspirations for a revised top class from next season.

That re-casting of the calendar also gives a little more room for the converged LMDh class to take root. And instead of looking to a September 2021 start date in the WEC the first of the new cars will debut at the Rolex 24 Hours in 2022 before a WEC debut at what looks certain to be a return to a double-headers ‘Super Sebring’ in March 2022.

So three problems dealt with by an open-minded approach to a significant calendar problem.

Here’s hoping that the prevailing situation allows all of that at least to come to fruition!