Stephane Ratel reveals bold vision for SRO-promoted series
28.07.2012: Stephane Ratel, Founder and CEO of the SRO Motorsports Group, yesterday outlined a vision for a new GT world
Stephane Ratel, Founder and CEO of the SRO Motorsports Group, yesterday outlined a vision for a new GT world series in 2013 at his traditional media briefing at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The series would bring together manufacturers, teams and drivers from a new GT sprint series and the hugely successful Blancpain Endurance Series.
Ratel said that a “rapidly degrading economic environment” made it impossible to fulfil the financial and regulatory obligations of an official FIA World Championship in 2013.
“We have proved in the last three years that a professional racing series could be promoted with GT cars in a sprint format,” he said.
“It has not been an easy journey but over the last three seasons we have initiated a shift away from the traditional amateur racing format to build a professional business model where revenues from sponsors, event promoters and broadcasters could be distributed to the teams.
“Unfortunately in a house that was constantly on fire, we had not been able to distribute evenly as we had to help the teams more in need but in a more stable environment we will be able to establish a professional partnership with the teams.
“There were several other commercial and sporting factors which have made our task more difficult. It has been a harsh lesson and it is time to turn the page.
“I want to say very publicly thanks to the FIA and to FIA President Jean Todt for all his assistance over the past few seasons and particularly this year to enable the world championship to continue.
“We will no longer promote the FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship but we are fully committed to ending the 2012 season in style and will continue to work towards a professional, international GT sprint series in 2013.”
2012 end of season FIA Championships calendars announced
Meanwhile, revised calendars for the existing for the remainder of the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship were also revealed.
“We want to conclude the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship and GT3 European Championship season in a professional manner respecting our commitment to teams, drivers, manufacturers, promoters, broadcasters and the FIA.”
As part of the season’s climax, the GT1 and GT3 grids will be merged at two of the three final European rounds in Russia and Nurburgring.
The two events originally planned for China will be replaced by European rounds, while the lack of transport constraints has allowed for a more favourable date in Moscow, avoiding potential weather issues.
The dates are: 17-19 August: Slovakia, Slovakia Ring; 1-2 September: Russia, Moscow (with GT3); 21-23 September: Germany, Nurburgring (with GT3); 30 November-1 December: India, New Delhi.
GT Sprint Series concept
The new GT Sprint Series concept has been inspired by Ratel’s experience of running and supporting teams as a championship promoter. It will be linked to the Blancpain Endurance Series to provide cost benefits for teams.
“The championship needs to be fitted to the existing teams and driver budgets. We need teams to be able to amortise the fixed costs over two series and we need to reduce the number of events per series and we have to arrange a calendarthat allows a minimum of two weeks between all the races,” he said.
“If you have two weeks in between, the same team with the same cars, the same truck and equipment can run two series in parallel.”
The proposal is for the calendar to be reduced from 10 to seven races, which combined with the amortisation over two series, will amount to about a 40% cost saving.
In order to secure seven events in time for the October presentation of the professional sprint series calendar to the FIA, SRO is working on nine potential events – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina), France (Nogaro), Belgium (Zolder), Spain (Navarra), Zandvoort (Netherlands), Slovakia (Slovakia Ring), Russia (Moscow Raceway), Portugal (Algarve) and India (New Delhi). The existing GT sprint format will remain.
Blancpain Endurance Series and Total 24 Hours of Spa
The Blancpain Endurance Series has been a resounding success in only its second year. In 2012, there have been 50 full season entries, almost 60 entries at Monza and Paul Ricard in addition to the 78-car entries and 67 cars and 235 drivers from 12 brands for the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
“To have the size of grids we have to date is a great achievement for a single class GT3 category and proof that we have devised a hugely appealing format for our valued partners, manufacturers, teams and drivers.
“The Total 24 Hours of Spa is more than ever the crown jewel of GT endurance around the world. We expect the success of the series to grow further next year.
“Sporting-wise, it’s everybody against Audi at Spa. I think it is great for the event that Audi is raising the flag so high and I hope that we will have more direct manufacturer involvement because this event really deserves it.
“For all the customer teams that are here against Audi this year, it is a great challenge. The greater the challenge, the better the reward if you make it.”
For 2013, the Blancpain Endurance Series, will return to five events at Monza, Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Nurburgring and the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
“Taking into account the current European economic situation, we need to be realistic about next year and return to five events including the Total 24 Hours of Spa. One of these five events could be a 1,000km race.”
Another essential cost-saving measure has been the announcement that no upgrade will be allowed in the SRO-promoted GT series. All cars will remain in their 2012 definition with one possible exception for the Nissan GT-R GT3 which may require an upgrade.
More teams should be encouraged to join the Gentlemen Trophy class where rules will be amended to accept the latest cars and to strictly limit the class to silver (over 40 years old) or bronze driver.
Pirelli will also be the single tyre supplier for the series in 2013 in a partnership that will also include the new GT Sprint Series.
Paul Hembery, Motorsport Director, joining Ratel on stage, said: “We came back into GT racing again this season with GT1 and GT3 as part of our plan to have a bigger presence in GT racing.
“We have been very impressed with the Blancpain Endurance Series. You can see here at Spa how strong it has become, so when Stephane was looking for a tyre supplier for the GT championships going forward, we put together a proposal where we could help in promoting the championship.
“We are looking forward to it and we can’t wait to get going. We believe Stephane has put together a winning package for the GT category.”
Ratel also revealed that SRO, the promoter of the British Formula Three International Series since 2004, has proposed to the FIA to bring British F3 and a new planned FIA F3 European Championship into one series.
A 10-race calendar has been proposed which will include a return visit to the historic Pau Grand Prix in France, races on the grand prix circuits of Italy, Belgium, Great Britain and Germany alongside the Blancpain Endurance Series, and also a summer Blancpain event at Paul Ricard in the south of France – next to three additional UK venues.
Live television production will be a feature of Formula Three in 2013.
Meanwhile, the successful British GT Championship will continue with the proven format which features a seven-race calendar at Oulton Park, Rockingham, the traditional away race at the Nurburgring 24 Hour, Snetterton, Donington Park, Silverstone and Brands Hatch.
2013 calendars (provisional)
GT Sprint Series (7 races to be selected from the 9 below)
16-17 February: UAE, Abu Dhabi
29-31 March: France, Nogaro
26-28 April: Belgium, Zolder
10-12 May: Spain, Navarra
12-14 July: The Netherlands, Zandvoort
16-18 August: Slovakia, Slovakiaring
6-8 September: Russia, Moscow
4-6 October: Portugal, Algarve
29-1 December: India, New Delhi
Blancpain Endurance Series
13-14 April: Italy, Monza 1-2 June: UK, Silverstone 29-30 June: France, Paul Ricard 27-28 July: Belgium, 24 Hours of Spa 21-22 September: Germany, Nurburgring (TBC)
Cooper Tires British Formula Three International Series
29-31 March: UK, Oulton Park
13-14 April: Italy, Monza
4-5 May: UK, Rockingham
17-19 May: France, Pau
1-2 June: UK, Silverstone
8-9 June: UK, Snetterton (TBC)
29-30 June: France, Paul Ricard
26-28 July: Belgium, 24 Hours of Spa
21-22 September: Germany, Nurburgring (TBC)
5-6 October: UK, Brands Hatch
British GT Championship (provisional)
29-31 March: Oulton Park
4-5 May: Rockingham
18-19 May: Germany, Nurburgring
8-9 June: Snetterton (TBC)
10-11 August: Donington Park
14-15 September: Silverstone
5-6 October: Brands Hatch
FIA GT1 World Championship – revised 2012 season-end calendar
17-19 August: Slovakia, Slovakia Ring
1-2 September: Russia, Moscow
21-23 September: Germany, Nurburgring
30 November-1 December: India, New Delhi
2012 FIA GT3 European Championship – revised 2012 season-end calendar
In view of the worsening economic climate, which has hit not only the grids of the FIA GT Championships but of many other series in the context of an overcrowded sportscar scene, Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group, informed the GT Commission, sitting in Paris on weiter >>
Blancpain-Endurance-Series, dritter Lauf in Paul Ricard/ in den Top FiveDer Waiblinger Rennfahrer Riccardo Brutschin (19)/ Black Falcon Racing und seine Kollegen Oliver Morley und der neu ins Team gekommene Manuel Metz weiter >>
FIA GT3 European Championships Portimao
On Sunday, cheering was out of control at rhino's Leipert Motorsport on the Portuguese racing circuit in Portimao as the team and drivers David Mengesdorf and Hari Pro weiter >>
FIA GT1 World Championship Portimao , Algarve, Portugal6 – 8 July 2012The FIA GT1 World Championship took place at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in the South of Portugal during the past few days. The well-desi weiter >>
Zwei Siege und ein zweiter Platz an der Algarve in Portugal Riesen-Überraschung an der Algarve: Das Team ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport aus Friedersdorf hat bei der fünften Saisonstation der FIA GT1 World Championship am vergang weiter >>
“Pit stops mess up possible top result”The promising 20 year-old West Flanders based Enzo Ide, who finished third in last year’s FIA GT3 European Championship is this season competing in the FIA GT World Championship with AF Corse Fe weiter >>
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal: Race TwoHari Proczyk (AUT) and David Mengesdorf (DEU) in the No.11 Rhino’s Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini recorded their maiden 2012 season victory in a thrilling Race Two of weiter >>
FIA GT1 Portimao, Portugal: Championship Race The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Mercedes team recorded a one-two in the Championship Race at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal. weiter >>
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal: Race 1 Maximilian Buhk (DEU) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) in the No.1 Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes SLS AMG recorded an impressive lights-to-flag win weiter >>
FIA GT1 Portimao, Portugal: Qualifying Filip Salaquarda (CZE) and Toni Vilander (FIN) in the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia No.3 secured pole position for today’s Qualifying Race with a commanding performance in Qualifying at the Autódromo In weiter >>
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal: Day One Round-Up Ferrari laid down a solid marker for the weekend with the best outright time from Friday’s two Free Practice sessions at the Autódromo Inte weiter >>
Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal: Day One Round-Up The championship leaders Maximilian Buhk (DEU) and Dominik Baumann (AUT) in the Heico Gravity-Charouz Mercedes SLS AMG topped both Free Practice session weiter >>
..at the half time race at the Algarve GT1 WORLDFriedersdorf/Portimao (rol/ot) After a one month brake at the FIA GT1 World Championship, the German Team ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport from Friedersdorf is optimistic f weiter >>
FIA GT1 Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal: Preview The battle of the brands resumes in Portugal next weekend when the fifth round of the FIA GT1 World Championship takes place at the Autódromo Internaci weiter >>
The Marc VDS Racing team consolidated their position at the top of both drivers' and teams' standings in the Blancpain Endurance Series with a strong result at Le Castellet. The Belgian team saw their #3 car, driven by Ba weiter >>
Het KRK Racing team met Koen Wauters, Dennis Retera en Raf Vanthoor als rijders is op de 11de plaats geëindigd in de derde manche van de Blancpain Endurance Series.
Dennis Retera en Koen Wauters reden lange tijd in derde positie. Raf Va weiter >>
After a spectacular third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Paul Ricard HTTT Black Falcon finished in the TopTen overall.Black Falcon SLS AMG GT3 #19 driven by Riccardo Brutschin, Oliver Morley and newcomer Ma weiter >>
Blancpain Endurance Series Paul Ricard HTTT Circuit Qualifying 2012Ferrari led the way in Qualifying at Paul Ricard in the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series with Daniel Zampieri (ITA) in weiter >>
Blancpain Endurance Series Paul Ricard, France The No.14 KRK Racing Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 PRO-AM entry of Belgians Rafael Vanthoor and Koen Wauters and Dutchman Dennis Retera ended the day fastest overall by producing a best lap of 1:58.760 in weiter >>
The Marc VDS Racing Team go to the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, at Paul Ricard in southern France, looking to extend a four race winning streak. The Belgian outfit, with the BMW Z4 GT3, took victory at the final two rounds of 2011 and are yet to be defe weiter >>
2012 BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIESPaul Ricard - Provisional Entry List1 1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT BEL Christopher Haase DEU DEU - Christopher Mies DEU DEU - Stéphane Ortelli MCO MCO - M Audi R8 LMS Ultra PRO CUP weiter >>
The Blancpain Endurance Series makes its first visit to the Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France for round three of an enthralling 2012 season. It extends the strong link between the series promoters SRO Motorsports Group an weiter >>
Het KRK Racing Team van Raf Vanthoor, Koen en Kris Wauters begon met twee wagens aan de Blancpain Endurance Series maar moet na twee wedstrijden noodgedwongen reorganiseren. Het Limburgse team neemt volgende week met één wagen deel aan de wedstrijd op Paul Ric weiter >>
– Marc Basseng/Markus Winkelhock third on the podium on the Slovakia Course Kept the lead at the team rankings and the 5th time a top three position – the German Team ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport from Friedersdorf co weiter >>