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SRO Becomes Majority Shareholder of PWC

SRO Motorsports Group acquires majority stake in WC Vision…

Photo: Blancpain GT Series

SRO Motorsports Group has become a majority shareholder in WC Vision, with Pirelli World Challenge set to be fully incorporated into the organization’s global GT racing platform.

The news was revealed Friday evening and builds on a relationship formed more than two years ago, which initially saw SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel take a non-majority stake in the company.

Terms of the purchase have not been disclosed.

“I am very pleased to be adding the Pirelli World Challenge in totality to our global business,” Ratel said.

“This addition was the final piece in our plan to provide global GT racing to our drivers, teams and manufacturers around the world. Our next step will be to meet with our PWC paddock members and discuss the future together.”

According to a release from the SRO, PWC’s North American leadership and management will not change, with Bob Woodhouse, Peter Cunningham, Jim Haughey and Greg Gill all remaining as members of the board.

The purchase follows a two-year period where the two organizations worked closely together, with PWC adopting SRO’s global Balance of Performance system in 2016, and SRO playing a part in the launch of the SprintX format.

SRO and WC Vision have also co-promoted the California 8 Hours Intercontinental GT Challenge round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Noodle

    May 25, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Looks like IMSA fan’s dream of PWC shutting it’s doors isn’t gonna happen in the near future.

    • Moncado

      May 25, 2018 at 8:10 pm

      And yet, all the current “woes” of PWC are directly related to SRO involvement

  2. Lewis Kasowitz

    May 25, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    IMSA’s okay with this, I’m a fan of both and I think this will be big not only for WC, but Blancpain as well. See you tomorrow at Lime Rock!

    • Max

      May 25, 2018 at 11:39 pm

      If you’re replying to Noodle, I believe he was referring to the person who posts as “IMSA fan”, not IMSA’s fans collectively.

  3. Matt

    May 25, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    I don’t see any good coming from this. Greg Gill is still on the board, and there’s no plan to ditch the confusing 2 championship system. The current manufacturer built SRO GT3 cars are too expensive to run and a return to shop built cars with a cost cap is in order. PWC used to be a series for private shops to showcase their technical expertise, but allowing expensive manufacturer built cars drove many of the private shops away. With the SRO running the series, management will never admit that the GT3 cars with no cost caps are flawed until the whole class collapses.

    • GoHomeYoureDrunk

      May 26, 2018 at 10:43 am

      The anti-Gill comments you always have make me feel like you got canned by the series for being a tyrant leader and still haven’t let it go, Scott.

      • Matt

        May 26, 2018 at 7:20 pm

        😂 yup. Scott here.

  4. Haskellb

    May 26, 2018 at 1:39 am

    This article should have Nickleback’s Burn it to the Ground playing in the background.

  5. Jakes

    May 26, 2018 at 5:51 am

    All SRO championships are doing well even British championship has improved Give them time

    • Matt

      May 27, 2018 at 4:29 pm

      British GT is not doing well. The fastest cars, the headlining GT3 is diminshed.

  6. GridS2Plaza

    May 26, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Maybe a PWC endurance series might be added to the mix. North America could use a multi class marquee GT/TCR only endurance race. Laguna Seca is a great venue and wonderful location, but the track length and pit facilities appear to limit a truly marquee long distance GT race. Even SRO targets a cap at Laguna Seca in the 40+ car range.

    Blancpain, ELMS & WEC all survive together in Europe so no reason the IMSA series and SRO/PWC run GT3 series can’t co exist in the North America.

    If the concern is PWC’s move away from “shop built” cars there is always TransAm series as another option. They have a healthy car count across multiple classes and certainly could use some growth in the TA class for sportscars.

    Obviously there is only so many “fish” to fill all of the ponds, but historically there has always been competing series in North America.

    • NaBUru38

      May 26, 2018 at 11:52 am

      “North America could use a multi class marquee GT/TCR only endurance race”

      Do you mean Conti Challenge?

      • Matt

        May 27, 2018 at 4:31 pm

        So much of what he said made no sense…

      • thomas

        May 29, 2018 at 1:37 am

        Or the Sebring 4 Hour in November

    • Jonathon

      May 26, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      Trans Am shop built cars are barely even cars. They’re tin boxes. We need PWC back as a legit shop-built series.

  7. daedalus

    May 26, 2018 at 8:49 am

    This will be good for PWC in the long term. The previous owners were only interested in making money out of PWC but Stephane Ratel is pretty much responsible for reviving GT racing after it was in the doldrums in the early 90s. He has a passion for GT racing that the other previous owners did not have (much like Don Panoz with ALMS). GT1,GT2,GT3,GT4 would not have happened without him nor would Blancpain or FIA GT before it.

    Like others have mentioned he needs to focus on reducing costs in GT3. I would not be surprised if he scraps the Sprint series in the future and just has SprintX as it has more entries than Sprint and it would ensure it perfectly mirrors the Blancpain Sprint series format in Europe and Asia and could be prelude to a World GT championship that he has always wanted.

    • NaBUru38

      May 26, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Ratel has made a lot of things in the past two decades. And he has made a lot of mistakes.

      Converting the FIA GT into a world championship is an example. Pushing SprintX in PWC is another. Banning pros in PWC GT4 is another.

      • daedalus

        May 26, 2018 at 4:19 pm

        If sprintX was a mistake it would have less entries than the old sprint format but the opposite is true. SprintX allows an am to pay to race whilst paying for the team and the pro driver. With sprint you have to rely on wealthy team owners or end up with an AM only series which is what GT4 was designed for.

        Pros have never been allowed in GT4 since its inception in 2007 its not like there has suddenly been a decision to ban pros. GT4 was always meant as a developmental series for AM drivers who would then move up to GT3.

        I agree that he over extended himself with the world championship but it was fantastic whilst it lasted and was a good last hurah for GT1 which was getting old and too expensive.

  8. Andy Flinn

    May 26, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Sprint X was/is the appetizer.

    SRO ownership appears to be preparing the main course.

    Like the IMSA Camel GT and Budweiser Trans-Am series (I loved them both) that thrived in the ’80s, if PWC maintains a Sprint schedule, it will continue to achieve success alongside IMSA. However, if PWC decides to adopt an endurance only format to compete with IMSA, it will eventually fail.

  9. Pay Driver

    May 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Yawn. PWC is becoming a shell of its former self. Soon enough, it’ll be entirely unrecognizable. All hail another generic GT series.

  10. lateapex

    May 26, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Le Rat has landed. SRO won’t have a clue what to do in America. Commence slow motion trainwreck.

  11. Passenger

    May 27, 2018 at 4:09 am

    Blancpain GT America will replace PWC this name…

    • Matt

      May 27, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Most race fans are older men and older men don’t like change. Changing the World Challenge name to something unrecognizable would be a death wish.

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