Grim reality check - worrying times ahead

Friday, June 05, 2020

Well - what a week the first week in June has been?

Certainly on the European side of things, the 2020 racing season should have been in full swing across the board by now with the grand spectacle of race day from the 24 Hours of Le Mans just a little over a week away now!

But sadly no - that all came to a sudden stop just over three months ago now (in the UK) as the world battled against its latest pandemic that is resulting in significant loss of life, the curtailment/cessation of many business streams and a monumental financial bill that needs to be settled at some point.

This week we had some very positive news with the resumption of testing at most UK circuits albeit behind closed doors at the moment as Aston Martin Racing Partner teams Garage 59 and TF Sport ventured out for some early track action at Silverstone ahead of competitive racing that is not expected to start in the UK for a number of weeks still.

Similar scenes are also being had over in continental Europe with testing having already started for small numbers of attending personnel but again only behind closed doors - a remit that looks set to extend into the time when race meeting certainly first resume in July - maybe longer??

Clearly, there has been significant effort been put in by all the affected race series around the world as calendars first got postponed/cancelled to be later curtailed and revised again as geographical circumstances changed but all with the ambition of rekindling the 2020 season as soon as safe and practical to do so.

Now we are also seeing the start of what can only be the inevitable consequence of the new global financial situation as first, Porsche terminated their IMSA GTLM programme at the end of this year at the start of the week followed today with the suspension of this years McLaren Driver Development GT4 Programme within the British GT Championship as well as M-Sport Bentley's immediate withdrawal of all factory participation, certainly within the Intercontinental GT Challenge leaving only customer programmes for their attention. This is a business model that will surely be repeated by other OEM's as the weeks progress and we may become reliant upon the efforts of customer programmes moving forward as factories struggle for outright survival.

Its tough out there already and its only going to get tougher for all involved within the immediate circle of motorsport, motorsport media and the general automotive industry with large scale job losses already announced by many for which we wish all involved well for the weeks/months ahead.

We can only hope that lessons learned in North America with their resumption of competitive race meetings over there can only help the situation over here get back to something anywhere near 'normal' but that is of course wholly dependant upon many variables - most beyond the control of the motor racing industry.

With all that doom and gloom and absent of any real positivity, its great to read this week that French based AGS Events Racing have confirmed a dual programme, competing in both the revised FFSA GT4 and GT4 European Series with its new fleet of Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4's.

Photo credits - AGS Events Racing / AMR / Rennsport 1 / D'Station / TF Sport

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