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Zolder Replaces Navarra on Blancpain Sprint Schedule

Zolder replaces Navarra on 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series schedule…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Circuit Zolder will host the penultimate round of the Blancpain Sprint Series next year, SRO Motorsports Group confirmed on Friday.

The initial provisional calendar featured the Circuito de Navarra, but the Spanish round has now been dropped in favor of the Belgian track, situated only 60 miles from the renowned Circuit de Francorchamps.

The two 60-minute Sprint races will be held on October 11-12, as part of the Belgian Masters meeting, which also features the season finale of the local Belgian Racing Car Championship.

Due to its compact nature, strategic location and the popularity of GT racing in Belgium, Zolder always managed to attract a decent looking crowd, though ever since the event was rescheduled to the beginning of the season attendance figures have dropped.

Zolder is also the home track of current series champion Laurens Vanthoor, who lives only a stone’s throw away, as his backyard borders the racetrack.

The challenging 2.5-mile former Grand Prix track played host to the original FIA GT Championship from 1999 until 2001, and has been on the calendar of one of SRO’s GT championships ever since 2007.

“Zolder has played an important part in the history of SRO’s various international GT series,” said Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group. “For me, Circuit Zolder has many happy memories associated with it, for it provides close competitive racing on a genuinely thrilling layout, and is one of the most popular circuits for public attendance too, and we hope that 2014 will be no different.”

The current Sprint Series calendar still consists of seven rounds, all at mid-sized facilities, despite Ratel’s earlier claim of hoping to add “a couple of prestigious circuits, possibly Formula One tracks.”

Blancpain Sprint Series calendar:

• April 18th – 21st : Coupes de Pâques, Nogaro, France
• May 17th – 18th : Brands Hatch, Great Britain
• July 4th – 6th : Zandvoort , the Netherlands
• August 22nd – 24th : Slovakia Ring, Slovakia
• September 5th – 7th : Algarve, Portugal
• October 10th – 12th : Zolder, Belgium
• November 1st – 2nd : Baku World Challenge, Azerbaijan

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.

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