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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Ratel: No Immediate Plans for GT4 in IGTC

SRO not likely to allow GT4 cars into IGTC; focus on platform’s growing sprint prospects…

Photo: Rick Dole

GT4 cars are unlikely to be added to the full Intercontinental GT Challenge in the near future, with SRO Motorsports Group boss Stephane Ratel eager to keep the category focused on sprint races.

The GT4 platform has grown significantly in recent years, leading to the creation of new championships in Europe to accommodate increasing demand. 

The flagship GT4 European Series has run with capacity grids of more than 45 cars at the first two rounds at Zolder and Brands Hatch this season, but despite the success, Ratel said there are no plans to introduce the class into some of the SRO’s major endurance races, such as the Total 24 Hours of Spa.

GT4 cars are currently eligible in the Bathurst and Laguna Seca IGTC rounds but as non-championship entries.

“It was never the ambition that GT4 should replace GT3, and the big endurance races, in our opinion, have to remain GT3,” Ratel told Sportscar365.

“Otherwise, you have no reason to buy a GT3. If you want to run Spa, you basically have got to have a GT3.”

Beginning this year, and in addition to the GT4 European Series, SRO now runs regional cups in France, Belgium, central Europe and Scandinavia.

Ratel said he’s keen to further expand the platform, with the aim of taking some cars out of the GT4 European Series, which has effectively become the region’s leading GT4 championship.

“At the moment, we’re thinking about various options,” he explained. “We’re also going to have more series.

“We’d be happy to have a German series and we’re talking to both ADAC and the DTM. We’d like to have an Italian series.

“If you have more series, which was always the base of GT4, to come local, then it should take some cars away from the European one.

“The overall cake should grow but this year it’s exceptional, the number of cars.”

SRO is already working closer with ADAC this year through the German organization adopting its Balance of Performance in GT Masters.

Ratel said he’s is interested in a possible future German GT4 series being able to strengthen the relationship between the two organizations.

“If we do a partnership with a GT4 series in Germany, that would be a good way to grow the partnership,” he said.

“We are on excellent terms, I was there there at the opening round in Oschersleben. I was very impressed and it’s really grown a lot.

“You have a lot of spectators, very close competition, and I think they’re happy with our BoP.”

30-Car Grid Targeted for California 8H

Ratel is hoping for a grid of at least 30 cars at the second edition of the California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in October.

Last year’s inaugural running of the race saw a GT3 grid of just ten cars alongside seven non-championship GT4 entries.

The race is open to GT3, GT4, GT Cup and Invitational entries.

“The objective is to have 30 or more cars, clearly,” he explained. “I won’t be happy until we have more.

“Laguna is not a very big circuit so it’s not a 50-car track, but to go above 30 would be a huge satisfaction and we’re working on it.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day. I think it was very important. The first year, with our project in Austin, we failed. We had to cancel it.

“Last year, we did Laguna and I have every reason to believe that this is going to grow.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.


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