No changes will be made to the Total 24 Hours of Spa event timetable despite a clash with the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue, according to SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.
Ratel explained that the SRO has already been “extremely accommodating” when faced with clashes between its events and WEC.
The Prologue for the 2019-20 WEC season will take place at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on the Tuesday and Wednesday of 24H Spa race week, but has been moved from its original Wednesday/Thursday dates.
The clash poses logistical difficulties for drivers and teams competing in both series, with drivers required to attend the drivers’ briefing, which is typically held on the Wednesday afternoon at Spa.
On-track activity gets underway on Thursday at Spa, and so the WEC’s date change, which was communicated last week, does now allow drivers to participate in the first day of Free Practice sessions.
“Administrative checking can be arranged and the parade, we don’t care,” Ratel told Sportscar365. “The important thing is the drivers’ briefing.
“They have to sign the drivers’ briefing. It’s a question of safety. The administrative checking, we could say you do it when you arrive. That’s possible. You cannot miss the driver briefing, it’s the minimum they have to do.
“We can’t change, it’s the 24 Hours of Spa. We’ve been extremely accommodating.
“Even if we wanted, the RACB wouldn’t accept it. It’s Spa. Imagine if you asked Le Mans for the drivers not to be at the briefing? Come on. You think the ACO would accept?
“We always do everything to be very flexible. We cannot [change], it’s clear.”
The SRO has already alleviated an existing clash between the Nürburgring Blancpain GT Series round and 2019-20 WEC season-opener at Silverstone by making the German race a Sprint event instead of Endurance.
“We have a lot of German teams and they wanted the final Endurance race to be in Germany,” Ratel said. “We changed it to accommodate this. What more can we do?
“Next time they’re going to do a race on the weekend of Spa!” he joked. “We’re not going to change the weekend of the 24 Hours. That will always be the last weekend of July.
“But they could, maybe they will do it one day, I don’t know. But that is the limit of what we cannot adjust.”