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Why Le Mans magic will miss a crucial ingredient in 2020
The Le Mans 24 Hours is a visceral experience unlike any other in motorsport, and that's partly down to the atmosphere provided by teeming masses of passionate fans. Their absence from this year's event will rob it of a core part of its enduring appeal.
It was the news we'd all been dreading. My heart sank when it was announced on Monday that the Le Mans 24 Hours in September will take place behind closed doors, without a crowd, minus spectators, in front of empty grandstands. Describe it how you like, the harsh reality is that the event will be robbed of the atmosphere that, well, makes it Le Mans.
The French endurance classic has an all-encompassing ambiance like no other race, certainly not one I've attended. A crowd that can top 300,000 spread around a track measuring eight and half miles is the reason for that. A visit to Le Mans is an assault on the senses. It's not just about what you see, but what you hear, smell and feel. It is a visceral experience.
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