Brendon Hartley will have to wait a little bit longer for the chance to defend his Le Mans 24 Hour crown, with the 2021 race postponed until August.
The 89th edition of the twice-around-the-clock enduro was due to go ahead in June, its traditional home month.
However, race organisers announced today that the race would be pushed back ten weeks to August 12-13 to ensure fans can attend this year’s event.
It is the second consecutive year that Le Mans has been postponed, with last year’s race delayed until September. The 2020 race was also the first in the event’s history closed off to the public.
This year’s race now becomes the first-ever Le Mans held in August, with race promoters saying a second race without fans was “unthinkable.”
“Although it was a tough decision to make, it is the right one,” said ACO President Pierre Fillon.
“Holding the 24 Hours of Le Mans behind closed doors for the second year running would be unthinkable. Therefore, we are doing all we can to avoid that happening and give competitors a clear view of the whole season.
“We are working very hard to put on a safe event, with all the necessary health precautions in place. This year’s race promises to be another thriller as the new Hypercar class makes its debut.”
The decision to postpone Le Mans moves the 24-hour race from round three to round four in the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship schedule.
Hartley claimed his second Le Mans victory last year, coming from two laps down to beat the sister Toyota Hybrid LMP1 by five laps. Co-drivers Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima also earned their third successive triumph.