A new purpose-built circuit near the Lake of the Ozarks is under consideration of being added to SRO America’s schedule according to series president and CEO Greg Gill.
Ozarks International Raceway, a state-of-the-art facility owned and operated by Pirelli GT4 America competitor JR Pesek, is due to open later this summer in Gravois Mills, Mo., 80 miles southwest of Columbia.
The 3.87-mile circuit is understood to be built to FIA Grade 2 standards, with the hope of attracting top-level motorsports, including Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS.
“We have made multiple site visits to Lake of the Ozarks,” Gill told Sportscar365. “That’s not a secret and we’ve been very impressed with what they’ve done.
“We’re part of a global business and a global sport but there’s something unique in the spirit in America of getting things done.
“We really have to give credit to entrepreneurs like JR Pesek and his family that have put that together.
“When that track is homologated, it’s definitely under consideration. We’re very interested in it.”
When asked if it could be a part of the 2022 schedule, Gill said: “It depends on testing and homologation. We’ll see.”
Should Ozarks find its way onto next year’s schedule, it’s believed to come at the potential expense of Circuit of The Americas, which has been a mainstay on the SRO America/World Challenge schedule since 2012.
Gill said the 2022 schedule has been more-or-less finalized in anticipation for the traditional SRO annual press conference, which was canceled at the last minute at Spa.
SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel told Sportscar365 that he now expects all calendars to be announced in early September during the Nürburgring Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup round.
“The calendar will be released soon,” Gill said. “Once we have that as part of the global calendar, we’ll see where things fall.
“Traditionally we’ve given a seven-event calendar with an eighth event for GT America at Nashville. That will continue.
“I think you’ll see the same number of rounds next year. You’ll see Nashville again. But as always we like to change it up with one or two things.”
Sebring International Raceway, which will serve as a replacement round for the canceled Canadian Tire Motorsport Park event in October, will remain on the 2022 schedule, with SRO America having inked a multi-year agreement with the circuit.
IMSA Planning to Visit Ozarks Track
Fellow U.S.-based sports car sanctioning body IMSA has also expressed interest in the new Ozarks circuit according to series president John Doonan, who has been invited to visit the facility.
“It seems like an incredible circuit,” Doonan told Sportscar365. “I’d like to visit there at some point but haven’t had a chance to do that yet. I owe JR [Pesek] a visit because he’s offered me to come see it.
“We would obviously bring some of our race operations people, just like we would if a temporary street circuit opportunity popped up — we’d want to at least go see it and make sure it’s feasible for our style of cars.”