The opening rounds of the 2020 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) will now take place behind closed doors.
Government officials have judged that the event is subject to the same COVID-19 rules as football and rugby.
It means no spectators will be allowed access to Donington Park at all this weekend.
That includes those who had pre-booked tickets in accordance with ‘COVID-Secure’ social distancing rules.
Circuit owners MotorSport Vision made the shock announcement, following a Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) decision.
DCMS have ruled that the BTCC qualifies as an ‘elite sport’. This means it falls under the same regulations as that for Premier League football and Rugby League.
The decision means BTCC events will be treated the same as these competitions. They must meet a five-stage pathway to allow spectators to attend.
Donington Park had worked closely with North West Leicestershire District Council and Leicestershire County Council on developing plans to safely allow spectators to attend the BTCC event this weekend.
The circuit has also hosted smaller motorsport events at the track since 11th July 2020.
MotorSport Vision is also responsible for hosting BTCC races at Oulton Park, Brands Hatch, and Snetterton. It is now attempting to rapidly clarify the position for those venues.
A last-minute decision is likely to leave BTCC fans upset, with MotorSport Vision also commenting they are ‘very disappointed and frustrated’ by the outcome.
The company has asked that those who booked tickets do not attempt to contact the circuit. Instead, MotorSport Vision states that it will be in touch with all who had arranged to spectate.
Were you due to visit Donington this weekend for the BTCC? What do you think of this sudden change? Let us know in the comments below.