SRO Motorsports Group announced Friday the cancellation of its planned six-hour race at Circuit of The Americas for March, reducing the new Intercontinental GT Challenge calendar to three rounds for 2016.
The Six Hours of Americas, scheduled for March 4-6, was due to be a shared event with the season-opening round of Pirelli World Challenge. The PWC event will continue unaffected.
While the race, which had been eligible for GT3, GTS/GT4 and one-make cup class cars, generated interest from U.S.-based teams, the timing of the event prevented European teams to committing to the race.
The pre-season Blancpain GT Series test at Paul Ricard is scheduled just four days after the COTA event, making it impossible for teams to use the same cars in both events.
“Despite interest from a good number of American teams for our proposed event, the difficulty we had to motivate European teams to cross the Atlantic ahead of an extremely competitive Blancpain season,” said Stephane Ratel.
“[It] convinced us it was better to postpone the introduction of the American round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge to October 2017.
“[It will be] at a time when both American and European teams will have finished their respective seasons and be ready for a Grand ‘GT final.'”
The Intercontinental GT Challenge kicks off with the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour next month, with the Total 24 Hours of Spa and Sepang 12 Hours completing the reduced three-round calendar for this year.
PWC is still set to open its season as scheduled, with a still healthy field across all its classes. An updated event schedule should come within a week.
“The SRO has confirmed the cancellation of their 2016 North American Blancpain GT debut race at COTA,” said Greg Gill, President and CEO of WC Vision.
“We, as a series, are very disappointed by this development, and we are especially disappointed for the competitors and teams from the USA who had entered the event. However, we understand the reasons behind the difficult decision the SRO Blancpain organization was forced to make.”