Coronavirus: Le Mans 24-hour race postponed, IndyCar Long Beach Grand Prix cancelled

With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in heavy restrictions on movement in France, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been postponed.

Kazuki Nakajima (L), Fernando Alonso (C) and Sebastien Buemi (R) won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019.

Kazuki Nakajima (L), Fernando Alonso (C) and Sebastien Buemi (R) won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019.   -  Getty Images

The 24 Hours of Le Mans has been postponed until September 19 and 20 due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the FIA confirmed on Wednesday.

The famous World Endurance Championship race was originally scheduled for June 13-14.

However, because of restrictions in France and around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been pushed back by three months.

A statement published by the FIA read: "The organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, together with the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), have decided to postpone the 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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"During this complicated time, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest wishes to express, even more than usual, all its support for and recognition of healthcare personnel everywhere."

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 7,652 confirmed cases of coronavirus in France with 175 deaths.

Citizens who leave their homes must now carry documentation detailing the reasons why, with those failing to comply facing a fine.

IndyCar Long Beach Grand Prix cancelled

Organisers of the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach gave up on trying to reschedule the race later this year and cancelled the event Wednesday due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Southern California street race had been contested every year since its founding in 1975 in Formula 5000 and eight seasons in Formula One from 1976-1983.

“Over the past few days, we have actively pursued the possibility of rescheduling the Grand Prix to a later date this year,” said Jim Michaelian, president of the Grand Prix Association.

“We're very disappointed we were unable to put something together for all our loyal fans and valued clients, but trying to reassemble all the elements that have made the Long Beach event such a success does not appear feasible for 2020.

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“As a result, our attention will now be focused on planning the 46th Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 16-18, 2021.”

US driver Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner and the Indy runner-up last year, must wait until next year to try and capture a third consecutive Long Beach crown.

Long Beach joins St. Petersburg, Florida; Austin, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama as 2020 races that have been lost to the virus.

The next race remaining on the IndyCar Series schedule is the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 with the 104th Indianapolis 500 oval classic still set for May 24.

(With inputs from AFP)

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