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Blancpain GT America

New Qualifying Format, Points Structure for 2019

Separate qualifying sessions for Race 1, Race 2; FIA international points system to be introduced into races next year…

Photo: Brian Cleary/SRO

Blancpain GT World Challenge America and Pirelli GT4 America will feature new qualifying formats as well as the adoption of the FIA’s international points system next year.

Confirmed during Thursday’s annual “State of the Series” address at the PRI Show in Indianapolis, the changes come amid a further aligning of the series under SRO Motorsports Group’s global umbrella.

Grids for the pair of 90-minute GT races, as well as the 60-minute GT4 SprintX events, will be determined by two 15-minute qualifying sessions, split between the two-driver lineups, held prior to the first race.

Previously, grids for Race 2 of the weekend were set by the fastest laps in Race 1.

Additionally, the series will introduce the FIA’s global points system, with 25 points awarded for a race win, 18 points for second, 15 for third and so on, along with the potential of bonus points for pole and fastest race lap.

According to SRO America President and CEO Greg Gill, the series has taken the “best practices” approach in the melding of its rulebooks with SRO’s other motorsport properties worldwide.

“As an example, in this country, the 90-minute format for GT3 is unique and that was from [feedback in] this paddock,” Gill told Sportscar365.

“With qualifying, it really makes sense. Who has done Pro-Am qualifying longer in GT racing than the SRO? No one. They know what works and have best practices. It was a no-brainer for us.”

Gill said its decision to adopt the FIA points system was taken with a similar approach, although they will have the option for slight adjustments.

“There’s always unique things in communities and areas, joker items that can be done,” he said. “I want to be careful about that; I don’t like things that can appear gimmicky. What we’ll do is listen to the paddock.”

SRO America VP of Competition Marcus Haselgrove said they expect to have a draft version of the rulebook released and shared to teams within the next few weeks, with competitor feedback taken prior to its final release in January. 

No changes are planned for its testing rules, with multi-car teams permitted to utilize the same refueling rig in Blancpain GT America races, as a method of cost reduction.

Additionally, all GT4 America drivers must now have FIA driver ratings and licenses, with Gold, Silver and Bronze-rated drivers permitted to compete in both the Sprint and SprintX championships.

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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