Pierre Fillon, president of race organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, revealed that there will be “no segregation and no bubbles” in the wake of the announcement on Thursday that fans will return to the centrepiece round of the World Endurance Championship on August 21/22 after a year’s absence.
This is in contrast to the original plan for the 2020 edition of the race held last September.
It has been hoped to accommodate a limited crowd in up to 10 5000-strong bubbles located around the track, though this had to be abandoned the month prior to the race and the event was held behind closed doors.
“There is no plan for bubbles this time, so we are expecting a crowd of 50,000 without any segregation,” Fillon told Motorsport.com.
“The only thing we will do is manage the flow of people to ensure that we do not have big gatherings of people in one place.”
Fillon explained that the crowd this year, which will be approximately 20% of the traditional Le Mans attendance, will be free to roam in the spectator areas between Maison Blanche and Tertre Rouge.
He added that the ACO is still discussing whether to open up other viewing areas, including those at Mulsanne Corner and at Indianapolis/Arnage.
The ACO’s plan is in line with the French government’s road map for exiting the lockdown resulting from the COVID pandemic.
The final restrictions, including the limit on gatherings to 5000 people, are due to be removed on June 30.
Fillon stated that the final decisions on how the crowd will be accommodated at this year’s 24 Hours will be made at the beginning of July.
This will include the number of campsites that will be open and their capacity.
Spectators attending the fourth round of the WEC will have to present the new health pass – or pass sanitaire – introduced by the French government this week to gain entry to the circuit.
This means that attendees will have to be fully vaccinated, have a negative result from a PCR test or provide proof that they have had COVID in the past six months and are therefore considered immune.
Fillon revealed that he is expecting a largely local crowd for the 89th running of the Le Mans enduro.
It remains unclear whether fans from Britain will be able to attend the race.
The French government introduced a ban on all non-essential travel from the UK and an enforced quarantine period for all arrivals at the end of May.
The move was a response to a rising number of cases of the Indian or Delta COVID variant.
Tickets will go on sale for this year’s Le Mans on June 21, with ACO members able to buy theirs from June 17.