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Trois Rivières weekend cancelled; Monterey ‘Historics’ still on track

Trois Rivières weekend cancelled; Monterey ‘Historics’ still on track

Oakville, ON, Apr 16/20 (GRW): Yesterday, the organizers of the popular Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières (GP3R) scheduled for the weekend of August 9th was CANCELLED. The province of Quebec has had the most people affected by the COVID-19 virus in Canada but they are not alone in having to deal with the fallout from the self-isolation regime that has been imposed across the country.

I don’t want to get into the game of trying to guess exactly when all this anti-virus regime will be over but, given this cancellation, one has to wonder if as time goes on, the optimistic guesses as to the dates when normal life can continue will continue to be pushed back farther and farther.

For example, does the Trois Rivières cancellation of the Pinty’s race imply that all the eight race dates scheduled prior to it will never happen?

In the meantime there is talk of rescheduling race dates to late in the year. For example, F1 races scheduled before the French GP on June 28 have either been postponed or cancelled. Only Monaco has been cancelled outright; Australia is still holding out hope that their race can be fit into the reorganized late-season schedule. This leaves eight F1 Grands Prix hoping to find a feasible date for their event in the shortened season, when it comes.

NASCAR has an equally optimistic plan to rescheduled all the early season races through to Dover that are now on hold – but that implies the expectation that the season will be back on track with Martinsville on May 9th and that those ‘postponed’ eight races can somehow be fitted into a schedule that was set up on the basis of a race almost every weekend. Looking at the dates of other disruptions to planned events, it seems almost certain that NASCAR racing will not be back to normal on May 9th.

INDYCAR has already posted an updated 16-race calendar with the first race at Texas on June 6. This means that five early-season race have been cancelled outright – Barber, Long Beach, COTA, and two rounds at Belle isle (Detroit) while three new races have been inserted – double-headers at Iowa and Laguna Seca and a second round course event at Indianapolis on October 3. So, for the moment they have a published plan for the rest of the season but that June 6th date at Texas seems to be pretty optimistic. Given that it seems likely that Toronto will remain ins shutdown until the end of June, this may leave too little time to set up the temporary circuit for the Toronto event on June 12; if that happens, I suspect that, like Long Beach, the event would be cancelled rather than postponed.

As for the IMSA WeatherTech Series, so far they have either cancelled or postponed four race weekends. The Long Beach and Belle Isle (Detroit) events have been cancelled while the Sebring 12-hours is now scheduled for November 14 and the Mid-Ohio round is pencilled in at September 27. That makes the next event on IMSA’s calendar the six-hour race at Watkins Glen on June 28th. I’ve still got my hotel reservation for that weekend (but only because I am unable to cancel it).

One might be tempted to start wondering if there will be any racing season at all in 2020. One spot of optimism comes with word that the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion set for Aug 15-16 has sent out confirmations to would-be competitors in this event. Many of these cars and drivers need to come from distant points, so shipping/travel plans will need to be made soon. Given that the mayor of Los Angeles – not all that far from Monterey – has closed down things in to the middle of May, one has to wonder just when the ‘all clear’ will be sounded in that state. Similarly, the Le Mans 24-hour race now has a firm date of September 20.

In the meantime we all continue to adhere to our local stay-at-home orders and hunker down for the interim wondering just when things will return to normal. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the problems with the auto racing schedule and with the implications this has for the health of the auto racing industry are small potatoes compared to the greater issues that face all of us at this time.

Hang in there! It’s going to get better eventually.


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