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SRO Launches GTX World Tour for Electric Cars

SRO plans electrification through multi-discipline electric car road shows…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

The SRO Motorsports Group will organize a series of road shows for electric cars beginning in 2021, showcasing EV technology in a competitive environment.

Announced on Friday as part of its annual press conference at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, GTX World Tour serves as SRO’s move to embrace sustainable motoring.

Events will take the form of road shows traveling from city to city within a region, including multi-discipline competitions taking place along the way, such as short-distance circuit races, rally stages and hill climbs.

GTX World Tour will start with a European event in 2021, with following road shows in North America in 2022 and Asia in 2023.

It will be split across four classes: GT-X E for fully electric cars; GT-X H for plug-in hybrids; GT-X H2 for hydrogen-powered cars and, introduced at a later stage, GT-X A for autonomous vehicles.

SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel expects manufacturers to be interested in this concept, with a view to using it for marketing purposes.

“The idea is to convince the manufacturers to produce even limited edition and then to come with their concept cars to prove the concept,” he told e-racing365.

“We see that this rally concept is working. It’s fantastic. You do the most beautiful roads in Europe, in America, and you have people that enjoy it. It’s like the Tour de France. It’s the same thing.

“When you talk to a city, Formula E is fantastic, but they can only cover a circuit. Us, it won’t be a three-day program.

“It will be like when you do the Dakar you’re gone for ten days, two weeks, so it would be two weeks where you stop and where you do all of this. It’s a big project.

“It’s a combination of marketing and driving. The idea is that we need a product that these manufacturers, after they’ve proved it, can sell it to people who will say: wow, I’m going to do it.”

The overall classifications will not be determined as in a traditional race but instead by a combination of timed competition and energy consumption, meaning the winner will be the fastest car that uses the least amount of energy.

“It’s a project,” Ratel said. “What do we do? We always present a project and then we see the reaction. We presented GT2, it’s becoming reality, and then it will take time.

“That’s why we say at first we have a year and a half to work on it, to develop, to see, the concept, the technicalities of it, the charger, maybe we will have a truck with chargers that is following and all of this. That’s basically the idea.”

Hybrids “Still Not There” for GT Racing

Ratel believes electric technology isn’t yet at a stage to be integrated into GT endurance racing, the main focus of SRO’s activities globally.

The SRO presentation explained that the company’s fundamental role is “selling expensive sensations over an enjoyable timeframe”, and that electric cars are unable to “match those of a V10 over a reasonable race distance”.

As a result, the company has decided against integrating electrification into its current platform, proposing GTX World Tour instead.

“It’s been ten years that we’ve talked about it,” he said. “It’s still not there. We believe that for this type of format, it’s complicated.

“I thought for years integration, it will come, it will come, it will come, and today it’s not coming. We do have one platform which is traditional racing.

“Of course, if hybrid comes at a price and level of operation which is acceptable for our team budget, of course we are not going to say we don’t want to.

“But we believe and Claude [Surmont, SRO technical director] believes that in the world of [Balance of Performance], that could be adjusted.

“But since we don’t want to wait forever, and we want to do something else and we want to have an environmental strategy, we think that what we proposed after we thought about it a long time could be and should be very successful.”

John Dagys contributed to this report

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

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