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SRO Cancels Asia Season Due to COVID-19

Attempt at partial season called off; attention shifts towards confirming 2022 restart…

Photo: GTWC Asia

The 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS season has been canceled according to SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel, whose organization is turning its attention to a series revival next year.

It comes after an attempt to restart the championship beginning in September with two rounds in China that have since been called off.

SRO canceled the opening four rounds of the season in April due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, which have severely impacted southeast Asia. 

Ratel has since confirmed that no rounds will occur this year due to the current conditions in the region. “This year, no. That we know,” he told Sportscar365.

While marking the second year without a season due to COVID-19, Ratel said he’s “very hopeful” of staging races in Asia in 2022 but is awaiting further guidance on the extent of the schedule. 

“Will we need to bank on the beginning of the season or do we bank a half season, do we see a winter season? We need a bit more time,” he explained.

“At one point we have to decide. But we said we were not in a rush to decide now and it can wait another month.

“The evolution is quite quick now. Sometimes it looks like England when the [COVID-19] numbers are rising and suddenly it’s now going back down, strangely. 

“We see many people are infected but in fact nobody is really dying of it anymore.

“It might evolve quite quickly.”

Ratel said he’s ruled out temporarily moving the championship to the Middle East, as the ACO has done with the Asian Le Mans Series for its 2021 and 2022 campaigns.

“The ACO event in Asia is with European entrants,” he said.

“We have managed — congratulations to Benjamin [Franassovici, series director] — that our Asian series was with Asians: Asian teams, Asian drivers and that’s what we want.

“We want to be in the Far East, not the Middle East.”

Ratel downplayed the impact of not having a series active in the region for the last two years, indicating that he believes many of the series’ teams will return once action resumes.

Several Asian-based teams have temporarily set up shop in Europe including KCMG, EBM and HubAuto, which are all contesting this weekend’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.

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

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