Le Mans reveals condensed four-day schedule for 2020

Gary Watkins

Practice and qualifying will now take place on Thursday and Friday of the week ahead of the race on 19-20 September, rather than on the traditional Wednesday and Thursday.

The amount of free practice has also been reduced from 12 to 11 hours.

The new Hyperpole qualifying format has been retained in the new timetable.

Race organiser and WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest explained that the new schedule was a reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, which resulted in the race being postponed from June.

It said that it was "well aware of the impact of the current situation on racing teams" and was "keen to ensure that their resources are not tied up over too long a period".

Its statement read: "The 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours has obviously had to be reorganised due to the unprecedented international context, but every effort has been made to guarantee a high-quality competition, where safety remains the priority."

Practice will now begin at 10:00 on Thursday morning, the first of three sessions on the opening day.

The opening 45-minute qualifying session in which all 62 cars will take part has been brought forward to 17:15.

The 30-minute Hyperpole session fought out by the fastest six cars from each of the four WEC classes in first qualifying will now take place from 11:30 on Friday morning.

This will be preceded by a final one-hour session of free practice. The raceday warm-up on Saturday morning has been set back to reflect the fact that the cars will be on track on Friday.

Scrutineering will take place at the track on Wednesday rather than in the centre of Le Mans and the race will be begin at 14:30 on Saturday as previously announced.

Le Mans 2020 timetable

Thursday, 17 September
10:00-13:00 - Free practice 1
14:00-17:00 - Free practice 2
17:15-18:00 - Qualifying
20:00-00:00 - Free practice 3

Friday, 18 September
10:00-11:00 - Free practice 4
11:30-12:00 - Hyperpole qualifying

Saturday, 19 September
10:30-10:45 - Warm-up
14:30 - 88th Le Mans 24 Hours