Donington Park to run behind closed doors

The opening rounds of the new BTCC season will go ahead behind closed doors this weekend at Donington Park after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport deemed the series to be elite sport.

Motor Sport Vision has allowed fans to attend events at its circuits, including Donington, since early July having introduced a number of new measures to comply with government guidelines introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The circuit had put plans in place to allow fans to attend the season opener this weekend in limited numbers and without access to the paddock area, but the decision by the DCMS to class the BTCC as elite sport meaning that any events must follow the government’s five-stage elite sport pathway – which currently prohibits spectator attendance.

“We have worked closely with North West Leicestershire District Council and Leicestershire County Council on our plans to welcome spectators to the BTCC event this weekend,” a statement from MSV read. “A multi-agency Safety Advisory Group approved MSV’s Covid-Secure policies and confirmed its support for our plans for the opening round of BTCC at Donington Park.

“This approval was subject only to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) being satisfied that BTCC is not elite sport. Regrettably, following consultation, DCMS has confirmed today that this is not the case.

“This decision has nothing to do with MSV’s comprehensive Covid-Secure procedures for keeping our customers and staff safe, but requires that an event including a round of BTCC, as the leading car championship in the UK, must follow the government’s five stage elite sport pathway with spectators presently unable to attend.

“The majority of our race meetings fall outside of this definition and are unaffected. We are clarifying the position for other BTCC events on MSV circuits and will communicate an update soon.”

The following two rounds of the season will both be held at MSV venues, with Brands Hatch a week later and Oulton Park in three weeks time.