This weekend’s Blancpain Endurance Series event at Silverstone has seen the continuation of the newly forged collaboration between SRO Motorsports Group and WC Vision, with plans moving ahead for joint events, shared regulations and the goal of a common Balance of Performance.
Following SRO founder and president Stephane Ratel’s trip to the Pirelli World Challenge event at St. Petersburg in March, World Challenge Director of Competition Marcus Haselgrove is getting his first up-close view of the highly popular GT3-based endurance series.
“Certainly we’re here to compare notes on BoP, talk about the Baku event, talk about [Blancpain GT] coming to COTA and to talk to some of the manufacturers on this side of the pond,” Haselgrove told Sportscar365.
Haselgrove is liking what he’s seen so far, with a lot of similarities already between the two championships, primarily from a technical standpoint.
“The cars themselves are almost presented identical,” he said. “There’s some small changes for the pit stops, for what they’re allowed, but they’re minor, which is pleasing. It doesn’t mean we have two different versions of a GT3 car.
“The general procedures, such as technical inspection, through the weekend is very similar, which is pleasing as well.”
While PWC currently utilizes the SRO’s Balance of Performance as a base, with its own modifications, Haselgrove said they are looking to adopt SRO’s full BoP platform, which features a four-level variable system based on the style of each circuit.
“That’s the long-term goal,” Haselgrove said. “One thing we’re discussing is the American tracks because [SRO] has four different [BoP] classifications.
“This is another big step forward, that we start to classify what a U.S. track is. Is it an A, B, C or D [classification]?”
Haselgrove said another major point of discussion is how to handle the arrival of new GT3 machinery, with no fewer than six new cars poised to make their North American debuts next year.
“We don’t intend to stop any of the existing cars next year [in PWC],” he said. “Everybody can still run. How long we run for, that’s more of a discussion point.
“Do we originally allow them in [GT] Pro in the second or third year and move them to GT-A, or do we say it’s fair to carry on using the car for as long as the homologation is valid?”
Haselgrove said the ultimate decision will largely depend on the overall car count in PWC and how many teams adopt new cars for next year.
Plans are also moving forward for the previously announced joint event at Circuit of The Americas in March, which is poised to see the Blancpain Endurance Series make its North American debut alongside the PWC season-opener.
“We’re discussing where we’re going to fit everybody, how we’re going to work the weekend,” Haselgrove said.
“It’s early days as far as the schedule for the weekend but there will be a lot of GT cars that weekend. With their grid and our grid together, it will be 80 or 90 cars.”
Haselgrove said there’s already been discussions on the possibility of select cars competing in both the BES and PWC races over the weekend, as well as some BES teams staying over to compete in the PWC race at St. Pete later in the month.