The British Touring Car Championship is set to conclude the 2020 season without spectators attending events, after Motorsport Vision confirmed the events at Snetterton and Brands Hatch would be run behind closed doors.
All of the 2020 BTCC has so far been run without spectators being able to attend the races, due to restrictions imposed by the UK government to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The restriction on spectators at touring car events comes despite other motorsport events, such as British GT, being able to admit fans to circuits.
Because the BTCC has been classified as ‘elite sport’ by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, it is subject to additional restrictions, putting it in the same category as Premier League football clubs when it comes to admitting spectators.
Croft, the host for next weekend’s BTCC action, has already confirmed that spectators will not be admitted to the North Yorkshire circuit.
MSV, which operates the final two circuits on the 2020 calendar, has thus released a statement confirming that fans cannot attend the final events in Norfolk and Kent.
“The UK government confirmed on 22 September that plans for socially distanced fans to return to large elite sport events from 1 October have been paused,” said the MSV statement.
“This is due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases across the country. This decision ruled out spectators for the upcoming round of Bennetts British Superbikes at Donington Park on 2-4 October.
“Dialogue has since been maintained with government, in conjunction with other affected sports, in the hope that a sensible approach to the short term return of limited spectators could be agreed.
“Whist we understand and appreciate the public health imperatives, our venues are huge parkland settings where fans can easily socially distance, and significantly fewer than 1% of spectators travel to our venues by public transport.
“Being at a totally outdoors, COVID-secure venue with a limited attendance is demonstrably safer than many other activities that have been allowed to continue to operate.
“Unfortunately, without a new timeframe on the return of fans to elite events, and given the time constraints involved, we have taken the decision to run the following 2020 events behind closed doors:
2-4 October – Bennetts British Superbikes, Donington Park (previously announced)
16-18 October – Bennetts British Superbikes, Brands Hatch
24-25 October – British Touring Cars, Snetterton
14-15 November – British Touring Cars, Brands Hatch
“Clearly this news will be frustrating and we are very sorry for any inconvenience caused. We politely ask that affected customers do not contact us regarding their tickets – we intend to email all purchasers within the next 24 hours with further details, including how to claim a full refund.
“All other race meetings on MSV circuits in 2020 are set to go ahead as planned, with limited attendances and in full compliance with latest guidelines.”