ORECA Group, promoters of the French GT Championship, have fought back following statements issued by the FFSA, as well as SRO Motorsports Group’s plan to form a new French-based GT series for next year.
The company, led by Hugues de Chaunac, has served as promoters of the FFSA-sanctioned series since 2011 but has come under fire following last weekend’s season-opener in Nogaro, which saw only a nine-car grid.
A statement from Dominique Roger, the FFSA circuits Commission President, in a French newspaper said that the FFSA “must find a new top series,” hinting towards a collaboration with the SRO, which announced on Tuesday plans to form a new GT series.
De Chaunac, who attended the Easter Cup event, which saw a mix GT3 and LMP3 machinery, said he’s been very surprised by the timing of the statements and announcements.
“I’m totally thunderstruck, on one hand from the declarations of the FFSA circuits commission president, representing the FFSA president, about the future of GT racing in France, and on the other hand, the announcement made by SRO of a new GT series in France starting in 2017,” he said.
“These statements, which don’t reflect my idea of what the FFSA stands for, are quite simply unacceptable towards the teams and drivers who have shown remarkable support to the GT Tour series and to our partners with whom we have built this championship.
“We have never given up on the FFSA French GT Championship. We have always stood by the FFSA, even in difficult times. I personally was on the front lines, taking hits that weren’t mine to take.
“Everyone knows the real reasons why several teams and drivers decided to leave the championship. ORECA had the option to stop being the series promoter in 2016, but we decided to continue because of our loyalty and conviction.”
SRO had previously run the French national championship from 1998-2010, prior to ORECA’s involvement, which has since seen changes in the weekend format and integration of the junior prototypes for 2016.
De Chaunac said he expects between 12-15 entries for the next round at Ledenon and has vowed not to give up on the championship.