Stephane Ratel has responded to SRO Motorsport Group’s decision to make a series of Balance of Performance adjustments to the GTS class ahead of today’s Pirelli World Challenge season-opening race in St. Pete.
The move, which has seen power and/or ride height changes handed to seven of the 11 GT4 brands prior this morning’s qualifying session, came following the analysis of additional data not only in St. Pete but at SRO GT4 tests in Europe this week, according to Ratel.
“First of all, a big part of the field is new, made of new cars that we’ve never seen before,” he told Sportscar365.
“The manufacturers have a tendency to advertise a car in non-[SRO] BoPed events first and come to us at the last minute.
“In the last ten days, we had the BoP test at Paul Ricard, which unfortunately fell in the biggest winter storm Europe has seen in 35 years. That was really bad luck.
“The time available to do the BoP was less, even if it concentrated on the new GT4 cars.
“Then we had an official test day at Donington with a massive number of GT4 cars and then the same day the important test with 43 cars in Zolder.”
Ratel said that SRO technical director Claude Surmont, who is not here this weekend, has focused his efforts on ensuring a fair and balanced grid, despite having taken measures during the race meeting.
“I think Claude [Surmont] had worked very hard to compile all these numbers,” Ratel said.
“He made the adjustments that he thought was necessary, which is absolutely no joking when you’re after the first practice of the first event of the entire global GT4 season.
“I don’t see it being a problem. And from what I heard, it was quite close this morning.”
Despite the wholesale changes made, Ratel does not anticipate in-weekend BoP changes being made on a regular basis.
“We’re not magicians, he said. “Maybe we need to start the BoP process earlier in the future. But it’s not always easy because besides the new cars you have the Evos.
“At the end of the day, all that matters is that we have close racing and that’s what everyone wants.”