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Intercontinental GT Challenge

IGTC Returns to Five Rounds; GT2 Class Added for 2023

Five-round globe-trotting calendar released; GT2 cars added in new Am class…

Photo: John Dagys

Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli will return to a five-round calendar on five continents next year, while adding a GT2 class for Am competitors.

Announced Friday during SRO Motorsports Group’s annual press conference at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the globe-trotting series will incorporate the Gulf 12 Hours and Kyalami 9 Hour into the same season.

Also confirmed, the longstanding Middle Eastern enduro at Yas Marina Circuit will replace Kyalami in this year’s calendar.

The 2023 season will kick off at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour at its traditional early February date, followed by a return to South Africa later in the month.

It will be followed by the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa in July, the Indianapolis 8 Hour in early October before closing out the season again in Abu Dhabi in a yet-to-be-confirmed date.

Notably absent is Suzuka, which had hosted the Asian leg of the series in 2018-19. Sportscar365 understands that talks of a revival of the ten-hour enduro broke down in recent months, paving the way for a multi-year deal with the Gulf 12 Hours, which will represent the Asian continent.

“It’s been very complicated with the whole calendar because as the IGTC has been really hit by COVID,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.

“Also, there’s been a bit of uncertainty on the F1 calendar. We talked to everyone. Because of all of this we reviewed the calendar.

“We believe that IGTC was unbalanced with only Bathurst, Spa and everything else in the end.

“We wanted to put a race before so we thought the best place to do it was Kyalami at the end of February. That’s a nice destination with enough time to come back to Monza for the [GTWC Europe] teams that want to do that one.

“Also there was this uncertainty because there’s many rumors that Formula 1 may go back to South Africa. We didn’t know but we know it’s not going to be in the beginning of February.

“We believe having this date is quite safe, whatever happens in the F1 calendar.”

In addition to GT3 machinery, GT2 cars will become eligible in a new Am class for the entire championship, including the 24 Hours of Spa. The cars will run to a higher performance level than currently seen in the Fanatec GT2 European Series.

A total of six brands are expected to be eligible for the burgeoning category next year following Maserati’s announcement of its MC20 GT2 car earlier this week, joining Audi, Porsche, KTM, Lamborghini and Brabham Automotive.

Mercedes-AMG is set to be eligible through an ‘invitational’ homologation.

“The important thing is to grow GT2,” Ratel said. “If we only propose one championship, it’s not going to work. Now we are proposing a class [in IGTC].

“I don’t want to say that we’re going to throw two GT2s [into the races]. I have to see the interest. But I believe [in GT2]. With these cars, to run under the current balance is quite restricted.

“If we unleash the performance, they can really do well. At a circuit like Spa, they’ll be not far off from the GT3s. If it grows with a lot more Ams, it should work.

“Our idea was always less downforce, more power. If you’re an Am you will go quicker.”

2023 Intercontinental GT Challenge Schedule:
Feb. 3-5 – Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour
Feb. 24-25 – Kyalami 9 Hour
July 28-30 – TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa
Oct. 6-8 – Indianapolis 8 Hour
TBA – Gulf 12 Hours

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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