The ACO has announced there won’t be any test day ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2020.
The reasoning is down to logistical difficulties, with the 24 hours for motorcycles running on the last weekend of August. The 24 hours car race is slated to run just three weeks later.
The Le Mans week will start on 13 and 14 September with scrutineering of the cars. The exact location isn’t confirmed just yet. It usually happens at the city centre of Le Mans, but that’s not a given this year.
Wednesday and Thursday are allocated for free practice and qualifying sessions, while the race will run Saturday and Sunday.
The exact schedule is not confirmed by the organizers just yet, but there might be some extra running for the teams, with the 8 hours of test day no longer being in place. All rookie drivers, who haven’t raced at the Circuit de la Sarthe before, will still have to do 10 laps to be qualified for the race. The three-night laps will come on top of that and will be mandatory for all drivers in the field, no matter their experience level.
Even though the test day is viewed as a given these days, it was actually only introduced in 1959, running until 1974. The day was back again in 1986 and 1987 but was only back again in 1993. The test days in 2009 and 2010 were cancelled due to the economical recession. The teams demanded it back on the schedule, and it has been a fixed part of the schedule ever since.
It hasn’t always just served as a test day. It was a pre-qualifying back in the day, where more than 50 cars showed up, with only the fastest being allowed into the race. But it was very expensive for the teams, and the whole season could crumble if they failed to perform on that single day. Now the Le Mans entry list is decided by the committee in February or March, so the teams know if they have Le Mans as part of their season programme or not.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2020 will be run on 19 and 20 September.