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COVID-19 / Coronavirus Cancels the Car Scene

In a time of pandemic and social distancing, car show and motorsports event organizers are postponing or cancelling their 2020 plans faster than we can keep up. Here's a list of what we know has been hit so far.

Bob Hernandez
Mar 17, 2020
Editor: Super Street Archives

For a lot of car enthusiasts, the coronavirus outbreak got extremely real on and around March 12th, when organizers and promoters from all manner of automotive-centric events and places set loose a wave of postponement and cancellation notices in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Among the recommendations by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, and other public health agencies, people are encouraged to practice "social distancing"—that is, literally staying away from one another—in an effort to keep themselves safe and help try to contain the disease, but as you might be able to imagine doing so has meant necessarily putting the brakes on all gatherings. That includes car shows, motorsports events, and other related large-scale affairs, as governments big and small try to grapple with this thing.

In the non-car world (or not directly car-related, anyway), big 2020 events have either been axed, like the South by Southwest and E3, or pushed to a later date, like the Coachella Music Festival, which is aiming for a date in the fall. What does this cluster-F look like in our world? Below is a list of events and series—many near and dear to us—and how they're delaying or aborting planned gatherings or making no change at all (so far) in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Car Shows / Meets

Coronavirus Cancellations xs carnight Photo 10/10   |   COVID-19 / Coronavirus Cancels the Car Scene

European car show hosts XS World's XS Carnight was set for a March 14th event in downtown Los Angeles but it was called off. Organizers also had to rush back home to Germany to avoid the American travel ban to and from Europe that went into effect on March 13th.

Coronavirus Cancellations tuner evo Photo 10/10   |   COVID-19 / Coronavirus Cancels the Car Scene

After having some of their East Coast staff already in Cali for their 2020 opener on March 15th at the Anaheim Convention Center, Tuner Evolution revealed just three days prior it would be pulling the plug on the show. TE folks are hoping to reschedule, and at this point they are eyeing a date toward the end of May.

Coronavirus Cancellations eibach meet Photo 10/10   |   COVID-19 / Coronavirus Cancels the Car Scene

The team behind the all-Honda / Acura Eibach Meet is expected to make an announcement about the future of its 16th annual event, which as of right now is still set for April 26th at Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, Calif. If circumstances change, a backup date has apparently already been secured, we hear possibly sometime in September.

ImportAlliance has postponed the event scheduled for March 28-29 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The rescheduled date is July 11-12, and tickets - including drifting passes - already purchased are valid for the rescheduled date.

Coronavirus Cancellations geneva motor show Photo 10/10   |   COVID-19 / Coronavirus Cancels the Car Scene

On the OEM show circuit, the 90th Geneva Motor Show was planned for March 5th to the 15th but was ultimately cancelled just days before it was supposed to open doors to the media. The New York International Auto Show was on deck for April 10th to the 19th but has been rescheduled for August 28th through September 6th.

Motorsports

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Formula DRIFT's season kickoff in Long Beach on April 10th and 11th has been cancelled; their competition at Road Atlanta on May 8th and 9th is still good for the time. If Round 2: Atlanta ends up becoming the first round of the 2020 season, it would be the first time that's happened since 2004.

Coronavirus Cancellations GTA road atlanta Photo 10/10   |   COVID-19 / Coronavirus Cancels the Car Scene

Global Time Attack will be with Formula D at Road Atlanta May 8th and 9th, and that event is still 100-percent go.

Back When Car Events Were Safe
Tokyo Auto Salon 2020
Wekfest LA 2019

HDAY was to have their spring event April 4th and 5th at Maryland International Raceway in Mechanicsville, but that has been postponed. Organizers are working on a new date later in the year.

Our local GP, the Long Beach Grand Prix, has suspended its racing weekend set for April 17th to the 19th and is investigating the possibility of rescheduling for later in the year. The weekend was to host the NTT IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and others.

In fact, the IndyCar Series has announced it has cancelled all events through April. This includes the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida, which was to start March 13th and run through the 15th, the Grand Prix of Alabama on April 5th, the Long Beach GP race in California, and the INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of the Americas in Texas, which was to take place April 24th to 26th.

Coronavirus Cancellations IMSA Long Beach GP Photo 10/10   |   COVID-19 / Coronavirus Cancels the Car Scene

And IMSA, which lost an event with the Long Beach GP suspension, chose to move the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring—originally scheduled for March 21st—to November 14th, which now makes it the season finale for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Formula 1's Australian Grand Prix set for Mach 15th has been cut, while the Bahrain GP on March 22nd, Vietnamese GP on April 5th, and Chinese GP on April 18th have been postponed. NASCAR's races at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 15th and Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 22nd have also been postponed.

The 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans, initially scheduled for 13-14 June, has been postponed until 19-20 September 2020.

The NHRA has suspended operations for 30 days, which will include its NHRA-owned tracks and the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. The sanctioning body intends to resume competition April 17-19 with the Houston national event, as scheduled. The suspension will, at this time, effect only the DENSO Auto Parts NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Las Vegas on the national level, which was to be April 3-5.

Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, an American Rally Association National event scheduled for March 20th to 21st in Missouri, has been cancelled.

Museums

Coronavirus Cancellations petersen museum Photo 10/10   |   COVID-19 / Coronavirus Cancels the Car Scene

After an initial indication it would be open until further notice, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles has now closed its doors to the public.

Auctions

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Barrett-Jackson is postponing its 18th Annual Palm Beach Auction, originally scheduled for April 16th to 18th at the South Florida Fairgrounds. It's expected to be rescheduled for October 15th to 17th.

The Exceptions (So Far)

Then there are the car places and events that are still open for business, for a variety of reasons (dodging bans, planned so far out in advance this hasn't hit them yet). TX2K20 at Houston Raceway Park went forward but they did so without spectators and shortened the top-speed event so that it ended March 14th (it was originally scheduled to go until the 17th). Final Bout went forward with its Special Stage West in Southern California on March 15th, also without fans in the stands.

As of now, Wekfest has reiterated all of its 2020 events are still operating as scheduled, including a May 3rd show in Nagoya, Japan, and a May 24th gig in Chicago, Ill. Last but not least, Gridlife has confirmed its 2020 calendar of events are still on course, including its next TrackBattle set for April 18th and 19th at NCM Motorsports Park in Kentucky.

By Bob Hernandez
870 Articles

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