Le Mans 24 Hours organisers announce new compact schedule

Organisers of the Le Mans 24 Hours announced on Wednesday a new "compact" four-day schedule for this year's edition held over from June to September 19-20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) which runs the iconic endurance event say they acted to cut down team costs at a time of economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.

After the routine pre-race technical inspection, the 62 cars will "take to the circuit on Thursday for free practice, a qualifying round that night, then on Friday further practice and the conclusion of qualifying," ACO explained.

The 88th Le Mans will then start on Saturday at 13:30GMT, finishing 24 hours later.

Traditionally race-related activities stretch over a week.

In another break from tradition, pole position will be determined by a new 'Hyperpole' session when the first six places on the grid will be determined for each of the four categories - LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pros and Ams.

ACO said they would make a further announcement on June 30 about plans for spectators for a race which normally draws a crowd of 100 000 die-hard motorsport fans to the Sarthe circuit.

The Le Mans 24-hour motorcycling endurance race, scheduled for August 29-30, is being held behind closed doors.