The first three rounds of this year’s British Touring Car Championship have been postponed following the UK government’s latest coronavirus advice. Motorsport UK has also confirmed that it is suspending all event permits at least until the end of April.
The tin-top championship, which is backed by Autocar, was due to begin at Donington Park this weekend. But that event, along with the rounds at Brands Hatch on April 11/12 and Silverstone on April 25/26, have now been postponed. The next event after that is scheduled for Thruxton on May 16/17.
In a statement, BTCC organiser TOCA noted the government advice to avoid non-essential social contact and travel, along with the withdrawal of emergency services provision to mass gatherings.
“TOCA of course completely respects the government’s directives,” said the statement. “The health of our entire nation – not just our competitors, fans, marshals, officials and personnel – is of absolute importance. Accordingly, the start of the 2020 BTCC must now be delayed.”
TOCA added that while the situation was “ever-changing”, the “firm intention is to run the full season of ten events and we will work closely with the circuits and stakeholders in order to reschedule new dates for all postponed events.”
The annual BTCC Season Launch test day is taking place at Silverstone today (Tuesday), although it was closed to members of the public to reflect the advice against mass gatherings.
British motorsport on hold
Governing body Motorsport UK has also responded to the governent advice by suspending all event permits until at least April 30.
Motorsport UK chairman David Richards said: “Clearly we live in challenging times and exceptional measures are required. The decision to suspend Motorsport UK permits on a temporary basis is not one that was taken lightly as the industry employs many thousands of people.
"However we have an over-riding responsibility to our members and the friends and families of our community. Furthermore, our social responsibilities extend to the broader population and the potential drain on valuable public health resources on which we are all reliant."
Richards said Motorsport UK would monitor the situation in the coming weeks in the "hope that we can resume the annual motorsport calendar at the opportune moment."
He added: "In the immediate short term our efforts need to be focused on ensuring that the industry that backs up the sport has the financial support that it requires from the Government in order that it can be sustained beyond this extraordinary scenario.”