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SRO Revises IGTC Points Procedure for Bathurst 12H

One car per manufacturer to score IGTC points at Bathurst in response to lack of brands…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

Only one car per manufacturer will be able to score Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli points at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, in a one-off rules adaptation made to address a lack of brands.

SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel, whose organization runs the IGTC, told Sportscar365 that fewer points will be scored at next weekend’s season-opener in Australia than at the other three rounds this year.

This is to give an incentive for the manufacturers that are unable to have cars on the Bathurst grid to still enter IGTC starting from Round 2 at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa in July.

The postponement of the Bathurst 12 Hour from February to May has led to several manufacturers backing out of its support from Europe where seasons are already in full swing.

Ferrari declared in February that it will not have any factory-supported cars running at Bathurst, while BMW is also unlikely to be represented with the new M4 GT3.

Mercedes-AMGs and Audis are due to make up most of the grid, with single privateer Lamborghini and Porsche efforts also confirmed. An official entry list is yet to be issued. 

SRO has set the deadline for manufacturers to make full-season IGTC entries to a couple of weeks prior to Spa, giving those that are not attending the season-opener lots of time to determine their involvement.

“Normally in IGTC, the best two cars [per manufacturer] are scoring points,” Ratel told Sportscar365.

“When there is less cars, we say the best car is scoring points. For Bathurst, all the manufacturers will be able to score points, and then they have until Spa to enter the Challenge or not.

“Let’s say, a private Porsche does well and scores points. Porsche could then say that they want to do it. We want to keep the door a bit open until Spa.

“It was a compromise to keep Bathurst in the series, even if there are very little international entrants going there. We have done the best compromise we can.”

While the number of points-scoring cars per manufacturer has been cut to one, the usual IGTC points scale of 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 will continue to be used at Bathurst.

It is understood that SRO is also set to remove the requirement for manufacturers to nominate a certain number of IGTC points-gathering cars, albeit for Bathurst only.

Normally manufacturers are permitted to select a maximum of four cars to score IGTC points at each race, with no more than three of those being Pro entries.

Ratel believes that reducing the number of points earned at Bathurst will avoid the problem of diluting the IGTC manufacturers’ competition when Spa comes around.

The series is also due to visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway for an eight-hour race in October and Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in South Africa for a December season finale.

“We will see,” Ratel said. “But there are less points being scored.

“If everyone scored [with] two cars, and somebody had a 1-2, you would have a lot of points already attributed and nobody else would join from Spa.

“What we hope is that some manufacturers will say, OK, there are a lot of points to grab and not a lot of points have been scored.

“For the moment, we have Mercedes, Audi and Lamborghini entered. We hope that others will come.

“Maybe a Porsche [at Bathurst] does well and therefore Porsche will score points. That is what we hope, that it will be quite even and some others will join [from Spa].”

Porsche squad GPX Racing committed to the IGTC season but is not set to enter Bathurst, where Pro driver lineups are banned. Porsche 911 GT3 R project manager Sebastian Golz hinted that GPX will return at Spa, along with some other additional Pro-level efforts.

“We will see GPX Racing for the first time at Spa, and hopefully they continue on that side,” he told Sportscar365.

“They are just supported by us. If they want to complete the IGTC, we are really happy and as long as we can support, we try to do it.”

Focus on 2023 with IGTC in “Survival Mode”

Ratel acknowledged that the IGTC will remain in “survival mode” during the 2022 season and that SRO’s focus is on restoring the championship to its pre-COVID strength next year.

The coronavirus pandemic contributed to travel constraints, domestic restrictions and delays with international sea freight that have made IGTC a particularly difficult series to run.

“For IGTC this season, we are a bit in survival mode,” Ratel expressed.

“With Omicron having arrived the week before the original date of Kyalami, and Kyalami being moved to February, which led to Bathurst being moved to May into the European season… it’s been difficult.

“We are really working on next season. That is our main focus: to rebuild the calendar with five races.”

According to Ratel, building back the IGTC calendar is the main challenge ahead of 2023.

The last full-strength calendar before the coronavirus pandemic in 2019 featured stops at Bathurst, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Spa, Suzuka and Kyalami.

During that campaign, a total of eight brands signed up to compete for the manufacturers’ title which went the way of Porsche.

“It’s still uncertain,” Ratel said regarding the 2023 schedule. “Asia will still be difficult and we are discussing again with Suzuka.

“We are talking to Kyalami to see what is the best way to do it. We had two years with [small grids]. Instead of going, we could have gone to the Middle East.

“It is true that with 12-14 cars for two years, it has not been easy. We really have to rebuild that and we are putting a lot of focus into next year.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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