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GTE-Am Future Uncertain Amid Pro Class Growth
- Updated: April 18, 2017
The future of the GTE-Am class in the FIA World Endurance Championship will hinge on the success of GTE-Pro, according to series boss Gerard Neveu, who revealed the category would eventually be dropped if the Pro class continues to grow.
Neveu said space limitations, with roughly half of the full-season grid reserved for GTE cars, would come into play should the Pro class gain additional manufacturers in the coming years.
The GTE-Pro class currently features eight entries, following the return of Porsche, and is expected to expand to at least ten cars next year with the addition of BMW, and potentially a rumored factory backed Corvette program.
New manufacturers, including Lamborghini and McLaren, are understood to be evaluating joining the GTE-Pro grid by as early as 2019, which Neveu admitted could tip it over the edge.
“So far we have the space on the grid, so there’s no reason [for change],” Neveu told Sportscar365. “But if one day we have 15 or 16 GTE-Pro, I don’t see a way you can keep GTE-Am, honestly.”
The growth of the GTE-Pro class coincides with its promotion to World Championship status this year, along with a planned format change, believed to be a sprint-style qualifying race added to six-hour race weekends in 2018.
GTE-Am, meanwhile, has continued to dwindle in car count, with five full-season entries this year, down from seven in 2015 and six last year.
Neveu, however, stressed no changes are on the immediate horizon.
“One more [GTE-Pro manufacturer] will not change the story but if you have two or three more [manufacturers], you start to ask the question,” he said.
“The day it starts to be around 15, it will be time to ask the question. We know the average number of the championship is between 30-32 [cars] and we have to keep a balance.”