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Nissan, Porsche Set for Pro Entries at 24H Spa Under IGTC Rules

Nissan, Porsche set for Pro entries at 24H Spa under IGTC rules…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

Nissan and Porsche are poised to have Pro class entries in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, despite not having cars in the top category for the full season of the Blancpain GT Series, thanks to a caveat in the Intercontinental GT Challenge rulebook.

Both manufacturers are not eligible to enter its cars in the Pro Cup for the Belgian endurance classic, under Blancpain GT rules, as at least two cars must be entered for the full season, and one of them being in the Pro class.

Nissan has two GT-R NISMO GT3s in the Endurance Cup with RJN Motorsport, but is no longer competing in the Sprint Cup this season.

RJN boss Bob Neville told Sportscar365 that he was confident Nissan would have its two Pro Cup entries at Spa, but declined any further comment.

Porsche, meanwhile, has no cars in the Sprint Cup and even lacks a Pro entry in the Endurance Cup, with only the Pro-Am class Herberth Motorsport and Roock Racing confirmed entires so far.

Stéphane Ratel told Sportscar365 the only way around this rule is to enter two cars in the full IGTC season, which expands to a four-race calendar this year.

“Basically, we need to have a written commitment from the manufacturer saying, ‘Yes, we’ll do [IGTC]’,” Ratel told Sportscar365.

“[Nissan] was at Bathurst and are committed to come to other [IGTC] rounds. They would have to do the whole Blancpain GT or whole Intercontinental.”

Even though Porsche hasn’t confirmed plans of entering Spa, speculation has mounted that the German manufacturer is preparing a two-car Pro Cup effort, to be run by Manthey Racing.

Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser said that a full IGTC program had been under evaluation, especially in regards to a factory supported program at Spa.

“If Porsche wants to come [to Spa] in Pro, I’ll need to receive a message from them saying they’re coming to Sepang, which they did last year, and Laguna Seca, which I very much think they will,” Ratel said.

“I think for Porsche it can happen. If they don’t come [to Sepang] with Manthey they can support Craft and be there. I don’t see it a big problem.”

The SRO boss explained that the full-season mandate has been put into place to protect Blancpain GT’s crown jewel event from turning into an arms race between factory teams.

“We’re very careful in the customer sport nature of GT3,” Ratel said. “There are new manufacturers coming into GT3 that don’t have the customer sport philosophy yet.

“We want to protect the crown jewel. I wouldn’t want it to be won by a manufacturer just popping in. 

“Even if I don’t see an immediate risk, I think it needs to be a structure where you need to do a series and have a real customer program.”

John Dagys contributed to this report

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. drivelikebruno

    March 14, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong but in my opnion a season long entry in the Pro class of the endurance cup is enough to secure a permission to have a pro entry at the Spa 24H. Otherwise even the Pro Ferraris and the two Jaguar would have to miss the race. So if this is true Nissan would already have a permission to compete for overall at Spa

    • John Dagys

      March 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      The requirement is two cars in the full Endurance/Sprint, and at least one of them has to be in Pro.

      Nissan will not have any cars in Spring, and Porsche won’t have a car in Pro. So they’ll have to qualify for the Pro class in the race through IGTC rules.

      • drivelikebruno

        March 14, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        So what will AF Corse do with their Kaspersky and SMP bcked Pro efforts? Will thwy sit out Spa because no Pro 488 are entered in the Sprint Cup? Same with the Frey Jaguar

        • Dan

          March 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm

          The AF Corse cars aren’t factory efforts and neither is Emil Frey they are privateer efforts therefore not subject to the stipulation.

          • NaBUru38

            March 14, 2017 at 7:09 pm

            Wait. RJN entered the Endurance Cup, but could be refused to do Spa?

          • Dan

            March 14, 2017 at 7:21 pm

            Yes they could use to having no customer cars running in sprint. While they are running in the endurance cup as they are a factory team at least the 23 car is they aren’t automatically eligible. The SRO smartly don’t want spa to be where a bunch of factory teams turn up for one offs like the nurburgring.They also want healthy grids for sprint. The others like Emil Frey and AF corse are allowed entries due to being no factory backed teams. The AF teams all have outside backers.

          • NaBUru38

            March 15, 2017 at 11:35 am

            But it wouldn’t be a one-off, RJN entered the Endurance Cup.

      • Herman

        March 15, 2017 at 5:56 am

        To be 100% correct ( this are the rules as they were, unless something has changed ).

        When a brand has two cars in the full Blancpain GT Series, and at least one of them is Pro, that brand has the permission to add EXTRA cars to the Pro line-up during the 24 hours of Spa, even if it’s another team who’s bringing this cars to Spa.

        Cars, which are competing in Pro-class in endurance only, for instance Nissan AND Jaguar, are permitted to race during the 24 hours ( the statement of drivelikebruno is correct ).
        Why RJN/Nissan is mentioned in the article, is also a big question to me.

        Concerning Porsche, they don’t have cars the full season and alone in Pro-Am, so they only can add up Pro-cars through IGTC rules.

        PS : AF Corse ( and “family Karspersky, SMP, aso” ) not factory backed???? Who’s paying the wages of Fisichella, Pier Guidi and Colado??? Only Emil Frey is working 100% independent for the moment.

  2. P

    March 14, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Team RJN already representing Nissan. Do you think Porsche will be represented by Manthey Racing or someone else?

    Manufacturers at Spa:
    Aston Martin- Oman Racing Team
    Audi- Team WRT
    Bentley- Bentley M- Sport
    BMW- Rowe Racing + Walkenhorst Motorsport
    Ferrari- AF Corse
    Jaguar- Emil Frey Racing
    Lamborghini- Grasser Racing Team
    McLaren- Strakka Racing
    Mercedes-AMG- AKKA- ASP + Black Falcon + HTP Motorsport
    Nissan- Team RJN
    Porsche- Manthey Racing or Roock Racing

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