The Kyalami 9 Hour will be moved by organizers to a new date due to the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa.
The sports car endurance race was scheduled to take place next weekend at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit near Johannesburg, South Africa. This week, the World Health Organization announced that a coronavirus variant first reported from South Africa is a “variant of concern.” According to WHO, preliminary evidence shows an increased reinfection risk with the variant named Omicron.
Governments have taken immediate action to contain the Omicron variant in response to the WHO announcement. The European Union and the United States imposed restrictions on those traveling from South Africa and several other countries in southern Africa. These restrictions have made it impractical for international participants to travel to South Africa from the event.
The Kyalami 9 Hours will be the final round of the 2021 Intercontinental GT Challenge. The pandemic has already hampered the competition’s schedule with the cancellations of the Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia and Suzuka 10 Hours in Japan. The championship has only contested two rounds this season, the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium and the Indianapolis 8 Hour in the United States.
COVID restrictions were already in place for the race’s spectators. All attendees are required to be fully vaccinated, pass a temperature check for admission, wear a mask and adhere to social distancing rules.
A new date for the 9-hour endurance race will be announced on Monday. With the start of the 2022 Intercontinental GT Challenge scheduled to take place at Bathurst next March, the new Kyalami 9 Hour date would have to take place sometime within the next three months. If not, the 2022 season finale will be the next time international GT racing visits Kyalami.