The 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on September 19-20 will be run behind closed-doors and without any spectators.
The historic annual endurance race at Circuit de la Sarthe was set to be run with a limited number of attendees.
The current COVID-19 pandemic climate meant that even having around 5,000 spectators, who would follow the expected distancing/hygiene guidelines, could still face potential health risks.
Various solutions were considered to find a way to allow a number of fans, but the FIA and the ACO were keen to prioritise safety and health under the difficult pandemic circumstances.
The WEC 6 Hours of Spa later this week, traditionally ran prior to Le Mans, is also running behind closed-doors.
The provisional entry list for the race had been announced already, as it will be the final time that LMP1 machinery will race amongst the competition at the event.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO – the governing body who run races at Le Mans), said: “The 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans will go down in the annals of history as, sadly, the world’s greatest endurance race will be run this year with no spectators trackside.
“Over the last few weeks, we have looked at many ways in which we could hold our event in September with fans present, albeit in limited numbers.
“However, given the constraints involved in organising a festival-scale event over several days in the current situation, we have opted with the local government authorities to hold the race behind closed-doors.
“There were still too many question marks regarding health and safety.
“We know that our fans will be as disappointed as we are by this decision but, with public health in the balance, it really wasn’t a difficult call to make.
“You don’t compromise where safety is concerned. Fans will not miss out altogether.
“They may not be at Le Mans, but our media teams and service providers will bring Le Mans to them!
“We are sure that we can count on everyone’s support and understanding at this time.”