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GT World Challenge America

SRO America Events to Restart Behind Closed Doors

COVID-19 protocol for SRO America events released; VIR set to run behind closed doors…

Photo: Gavin Baker/SRO

SRO Motorsports America events are set to restart behind closed doors, with a three-phase COVID-19 protocol having been established by the organization.

Released to teams last week, Phase 1 of the protocol will see events without spectators, as well as restrictions placed on team staff and support personnel and emphases on health and sanitization.

This will apply to the event at Virginia International Raceway on July 9-12.

Each GT World Challenge America powered by AWS entry will be restricted to a maximum of ten team members plus two drivers, with Pirelli GT4 America Sprint (six crew and one driver) and SprintX (eight crew and two drivers) also set for restricted numbers.

The new-for-2020 GT Sports Club, which is set to debut at Virginia International Raceway, meanwhile, will see a maximum of eight crew and one driver, with TC America teams limited to six crew and one driver.

Restrictions will also be in place for manufacturers and suppliers.

Similar to SRO’s protocol in Europe, teams will be divided into individual ‘cells’ that will be expected to remain together and not interacts with other cells.

Additional cells will include SRO staff, sporting officials, technical officials, pit lane officials, race control, TV production and SRO media staff, among others.

Each cell’s primary communication method will be through SRO and GTWC America team messaging apps and videoconferences. 

Health and safety measures will be enforced at all events, with temperature checks given to anyone entering the facility, with a designated isolation in place for those who do not pass the medical checks or fall ill during the event.

Entry into VIR will be staggered by class, to avoid crowding. 

Face masks must be worn at all times at events, unless the nose and mouth are covered by safety equipment, with frequent hand washing and gloves mandatory when handling tools used by multiple people.

Social distancing of a minimum of six feet will be enforced, with each cell responsible for keeping their own areas clean, disinfected and aerated.

No vehicles, other than team transporters, will be allowed into the paddock, with teams requested to bring minimal equipment to pit lane, which will be spaced out to provide “maximum separation” between teams.

Equipment such as helmets, radios, computers and tools must be disinfected before and after each use.

A one-way circulation system will be put into operation, wherever possible, to avoid people crossing paths.

Phase 1 of the protocol also calls for no podium ceremonies or press conferences, with a trophy collection pedestal instead to be set up, where drivers will be able to collect their hardware and speak into a microphone.

While not yet determined when it will go into effect, Phase 2 will be run with limited spectators and no public access to the paddock and Phase 3 with spectators but restricted paddock access.

Following its season kickoff at Circuit of The Americas in March, SRO America has five additional weekends planned, with VIR followed by Sonoma Raceway on Aug. 7-9, Road America on Aug. 28-30, Watkins Glen on Sept. 18-20 and Indianapolis on Oct. 2-4, which will also serve as a round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.

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

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