Friday afternoon the racing series formerly known as World Challenge, SRO America, issued an incredibly tone deaf press release saying that all races this year would continue. Despite the cancellation or postponement of pretty much every major international motorsport event, it’s business as usual in the mind of the Stephane Ratel Organization.
This isn’t out of the ordinary for what was once the worlds premier sprint racing championship. In early March the series went ahead with its Circuit Of The Americas season-opening round without instituting any changes whatsoever. This was in spite of restrictions from the city of Austin and Travis County on public events of more than 2500 people.
The series had its hand forced with the cancellation of the St. Petersburg Grand Prix and the Long Beach Grand Prix, as these were intended to play host to GT4 America and TC America rounds. With IndyCar and IMSA dumping these rounds from their collective schedules in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic threat, SRO couldn’t rightly run them solo.
Rather than standing up and facing the music as many other series have done,SRO America indicated today that the remainder of the season—scheduled to pick up again on May 8th at Lime Rock Park with the TC Festival—will continue “as local authorities advise”. The now-cancelled St. Petersburg and Long Beach rounds will be added to future weekends already on the schedule.
“Our 100% focus right now is to join with the worldwide community in the efforts to help reduce the impact of this virus and ensure the health and safety of everyone,” said SRO America President and CEO Greg Gill. “Motorsports will return and we look forward to being at the racetrack very soon with our teams, drivers, series staff and fans in the near future.”
The press release didn’t end there, however, as it went on to encourage teams to continue testing privately in preparation for the remainder of the 2020 season. Considering many major cities in this country have told all non-essential businesses to cease operations to keep person-to-person contact at a minimum, this comes off as selfish and discouraging.
Come on, guys. I get trying to be optimistic, but issuing a release to say you’ll carry on as if we weren’t in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic is out of touch at best and malicious at worst.
Let’s all do our part. Stay home. Wash your hands. And if you must race, do it online.