The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the premier round of the World Endurance Championship, is traditionally held in June but this year will run in September due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic throwing a spanner in the works. The race is currently scheduled to run the weekend starting Sept. 19.
However, the organizers still plan to run a 24 Hours of Le Mans race in June, albeit a virtual one. The exhibition race, which will run on the rFactor 2 gaming platform, will run the weekend starting June 13 and see both professional racing drivers and seasoned gamers take part.
Each team, forming a maximum 50 cars on the grid, will have four drivers split evenly between real racers and gamers. Driver changes will be compulsory, with each driver having to put in a minimum four hours behind the wheel and no more than seven.
The race classes to be used will be LMP2 and GTE.
Professional race commentators and pit reporters will also take part, broadcasting live from a television studio in Paris. A number of famous racing personalities are also expected to be present to watch the race and conduct interviews. The virtual Le Mans race will be broadcast on multiple platforms, details of which will be announced at a later date.
In other WEC news, the current delayed 2019/2020 season, which due to the coronavirus will end in November instead of June as previously planned, means organizers will return the championship to a single-year format starting in 2021.
The shakeup will result in a delay in the planned introduction of both the new Le Mans Hypercar and LMDh classes. Instead of starting later this year, LMH will now be introduced with the start of the 2021 season next March. LMDh is currently scheduled to be introduced in 2022 but could be pushed back to 2023.