Coronavirus forces Goodwood Festival of Speed organizers to postpone

Another one bites the dust as the Goodwood Festival of Speed becomes the latest victim of the global coronavirus pandemic. Organizers say they will look to reschedule the popular annual motorsports celebration, which was set for July 9-12 in West Sussex, England.

“Following all that’s happened in the last few weeks and the advice we have received from the U.K. government, we have decided to postpone the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, to later in the year,” organizers said in a message posted online.

A rescheduled date would “most likely” be chosen in late summer or early fall, they said, with all tickets and hospitality bookings already purchased remaining valid.

“We obviously want to be sure of choosing the best possible date; this will require some careful consideration and as soon as we have that we will let you know. Whatever we decide to do I can assure you it will be just as fantastic a celebration of everything we love and enjoy as you would expect.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday issued a sweeping stay-at-home order that includes fines for people breaking rules prohibiting public gatherings. The order also forces the closure of stores, places of worship, and gyms. As is the case in most of the U.S., citizens are allowed to leave home to shop for necessities including food and medicine, exercise or going to work for certain categories of essential workers.

The U.K. is approaching 10,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 477 deaths so far, according to Johns Hopkins University’s global tracking data. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed a number of high-profile fixtures on the automotive calendar, including the cancellation of both the Geneva Motor Show in March and the New York Auto Show in early April, plus the postponement of races including the NASCAR season, Formula One, IndyCar and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which was rescheduled to September.

Those postponements could complicate efforts to reschedule Goodwood or at least make it harder for it to attract marquis drivers for the Hillclimb and other events. It could also conflict with the Goodwood Revival Meeting, a three-day celebration of vintage race cars normally held in September.

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