Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG have committed to the global World Challenge, with the two manufacturers set to face off for the inaugural Blancpain GT World Challenge title.
They were confirmed Saturday as the first participants in SRO Motorsport Group’s new offering, which sees four nominated drivers from each manufacturer score points across the sprint-based Blancpain GT series in America, Europe and Asia.
In a change to the initial rules, manufacturers can only nominate a maximum of one Platinum-rated driver and a minimum of one Bronze-rated pilot, with three of four holding a passport from the region raced.
Previously, the makeup was announced as one Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum-rated driver per manufacturer with no geographical restrictions.
This weekend’s Blancpain GT America season-opener at Circuit of The Americas will see Toni Vilander (Platinum), Jeff Segal (Gold), Martin Fuentes (Silver) and Christopher Cagnazzi (Bronze) score points for Ferrari.
Mercedes-AMG, meanwhile, will have Maxi Buhk (Platinum), JC Perez (Silver), David Askew (Bronze) and George Kurtz (Bronze) on its points table.
Nominated drivers for Blancpain GT Europe and Asia will be announced prior to the start of their respective series.
“I’m delighted that Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG have confirmed their interest for the inaugural Blancpain GT World Challenge season,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.
“I’m convinced that the exciting competition during the year will encourage more manufacturers to compete on all three markets in 2020.
“The promising development of the entry lists on the three continents give us great confidence for the future of this new global Series.”
A total of six GT3 manufacturers are represented this weekend at COTA, although Porsche, Bentley, Honda and BMW currently do not have confirmed entries in Blancpain GT Europe, or Asia, which would make them ineligible for the global title.
Manufacturers Support SRO’s New Concept
Representatives from both Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG said they’re happy to embrace SRO’s latest vision, which links the three series through customer-based racing.
“Ferrari has always been able to count on owners who race on all continents and it was therefore natural to involve some of them in the Blancpain GT World Challenge project,” said Head of Ferrari GT racing Antonello Coletta.
“We are aware that we will be up against some very strong opposition, but we know we have customers, teams and drivers who are prepared to fight for the very best results.”
Head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Stefan Wendl added: “I do like the idea to have Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing drivers from three continents to score points for the manufacturer‘s trophy a lot.
“What can be more exciting than a fair and worldwide competition with an iconic brand like Ferrari?”