SRO Motorsports Group and Blancpain have announced that the Swiss watch maker will increase the brand’s involvement in SRO’s activities.
The FIA GT series, the successor of the FIA GT1 World Championship, will be renamed into the Blancpain Sprint Series in 2014, bringing SRO’s international sprint series under the same banner as the already successful Blancpain Endurance Series.
To emphasize their commitment to the newly branded Sprint Series, the President and CEO of Blancpain, Marc A. Hayek, was already confirmed as the first entrant together with Dutch ace Peter Kox.
The Blancpain Sprint Series will feature seven events with two one-hour races per weekend, with the main changes to this year’s calendar being the addition of a British round at Brands Hatch and a return to the Algarve circuit in Portugal, while the Belgian round at Circuit Zolder has been dropped.
The Blancpain Endurance Series calendar remains largely unchanged, with the Silverstone round moved forward one week, meaning that it no longer clashes with the Le Mans Test Day on June 1.
Organizers also revealed that participants will be able to race for attractive prize funds, with 100,000 Euros awarded at each European race, in addition to the 175,000 Euros up for grabs at the Baku World Challenge which will once again mark the end of the season.
“As SRO, we are proud to be the first promoter to introduce such a level of financial rewards in GT Racing to promote talented young drivers and to increase our Series’ professionalisation,” said Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group.
“We hope that many young drivers will take this route and thereby follow in the footsteps of Frédéric Makowiecki, Maxime Martin, Maximilian Buhk and the most talented graduates from the Nissan GT Academy among many others, in their promising professional careers.”
By creating a combined Blancpain GT Series title with an additional prize fund of 100,000 Euros and offering a substantial reduction in entry fees to teams signing up for both series, SRO hopes to attract more full-season entrants opting for an entire international program consisting of up to 12 race weekends.
Pirelli will continue to be the sole tire supplier for both series, with the only notable change on this front being a reduction to four sets of new tires per Sprint event in order to reduce the costs. The Italian tire manufacturer will also award the ‘Pirelli GT Trophy’ to the combined Blancpain GT Series champions, worth 140,000 Euros in Pirelli tires.
Blancpain Sprint Series calendar:
• April 18th – 21st : Coupes de Pâques, Nogaro, France
• May 17th – 18th : Brands Hatch, Great Britain
• July 4th – 6th : Zandvoort , the Netherlands
• August 22nd – 24th : Slovakia Ring, Slovakia*
• September 5th – 7th : Algarve, Portugal
• September 27th – 28th or October 4th – 5th : Navarra , Spain
• November 1st – 2nd : Baku World Challenge, Azerbaijan**
Blancpain Endurance Series calendar:
• April 12th – 13th : Monza, 3 hours, Italy
• May 24th – 25th : Silverstone, 3 hours , Great Britain
• June 28th – 29th : Paul Ricard, 3 hours, France
• July 23rd – 27th : Total 24 Hours of Spa, Belgium
• September 20th – 21st : Nürburgring, 1000 km, Germany