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Ratel Still Working on Asia-Pacific GT3 Championship

Four rounds proposed for Asian-Pacific GT3 Championship…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Stephane Ratel is still working on the launch of his proposed Asia-Pacific GT3 endurance championship, despite revealing plans for the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which will encompass two events in the region.

The SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO said he’s still working on securing venues and dates for two additional rounds to join the established Bathurst 12 Hour and Sepang 12 Hour events on the Asia-Pacific calendar.

“Motorsport is simple when you have a trailer and a truck, but in Asia it’s all done in container transportation,” Ratel told Sportscar365

“It’s a complex market and we need to find dates that work. It’s not easy.”

Ratel, who was recently appointed to help organize the FIA GT World Cup in Macau, has been in discussions with Tony Quinn for a possible race in New Zealand.

Both of Quinn’s circuits, Highlands Park and Hampton Downs, have been mentioned as possible venues for a round as early as late 2016.

“We have Macau, which is always at a fixed date and should be preserved,” Ratel said. “We can put Sepang three weeks after.

“We had discussions with Tony Quinn here this weekend, to see if we could fit a race in New Zealand between Sepang and Bathurst, but there are also the constraints of the V8 Supercar Series.

“It will be difficult for next year, but maybe it will be possible in 2017.”

A fourth event could be in China, Ratel admitted, although it’s been a bit more of a challenge to secure the event.

“We had interesting talks, but there’s a little bit of a slow down in Asia at the moment,” he said. “People are more cautious and we haven’t materialized this fourth event.

“If the series is less than four events it won’t work. To have races in China, Sepang, Australia and New Zealand would be perfect.”

Ratel stressed the proposed launch of the Asia-Pacific GT3 championship would not be a competitor to GT Asia, as it will be run as a winter series.

Should it materialize, Ratel said the championship would coexist with the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which will feature rounds at Bathurst, Circuit of The Americas, Spa and Sepang next year.

Vincent Wouters contributed to this report

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

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