Stéphane Ratel remains 100 percent committed to “his” GT3 formula, despite the fact that the introduction of a new set of regulations for GT racing is looming over the horizon.
“GT3 is still doing very well. We still have new cars joining all the time with Bentley, Viper, Lexus and we could even have others still coming,” Ratel told Sportscar365 at Monza last weekend.
“For what we are concerned at SRO, we will stick with GT3, unless the new regulations are very close to the way GT3 is right now. It’s very simple, the market won’t support any additional cost.
“Right now we are at the absolute limit, the cars need to remain under €400,000 [$550,000] and seasons need to remain at the level where they are today. I’m very happy with a car like the Reiter Camaro GT3.
“Maybe it will work to get 20 cars at Le Mans, but it won’t work to feed other series and all the national championships. At the moment GT3 has reached America and is growing in Asia, it’s not really necessary to change anything.”
On the subject of the current state of SRO’s championships Ratel said that the Blancpain Endurance Series has become somewhat the victim of its own success, as the championship regularly attracted grids of up to 60 cars last year.
“Nobody would complain with a grid of 40 cars,” he said. “We had a very exceptional season last year, but no series can remain at 60 cars. People were on top of each other, didn’t have enough room, which led to some friction.
“In motorsport, you have a ratio of winners towards losers, and if you are in a class were you are starting with too many cars, people will go elsewhere because they want to get a result.
“You can spend your budget and finish 8th in Pro-Am and 23rd overall, but than you see press releases where people are saying they finished second in the Le Mans Series when you have three cars on the grid, that’s a bit of a joke.”
Ratel however remained confident that the numbers will soon be on the rise again, with the Silverstone round attracting some local teams, Paul Ricard being an evening race and the 24 Hours of Spa the blue riband event of the series.
“We will have race-by race entries starting at Silverstone, where we should be at 45 cars,” Ratel said. “Ideally it would be 45 cars in Endurance and 25 in Sprint.”
During the off-season the GTC class in the ELMS has grown considerably and has now become biggest category of the field, with 15 cars entered for the season opener at Silverstone this weekend.
“Only five teams have gone to the ELMS and one even came back,” Ratel said. “I personally think that the drivers that went there will soon realize that driving with LMP2 prototypes and just being chicanes is not the same thing, and that their cars are less performing over there because they also need to stay behind the GTE cars.”
Asked whether or not SRO would be interested in the idea of a GT World Cup as proposed by the FIA at the end of last year, Ratel remained skeptical.
“It could be interesting, but it would be between championships that will take on the FIA badge,” he said. “The winners of these series would be eligible for a World Cup final. To the best of our knowledge, nobody has committed to the idea so it has not taken off for this season. We will see what will happen in 2015.”