A three-year low of 20 cars will take part in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup this season, with the entry list released on Tuesday during the pre-season test at Circuit Paul Ricard.
ENTRY LIST: Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup
The field will be the Sprint Cup’s smallest since 2015 after consistently having over 30 cars at each race over the last two seasons.
It features 14 Pro Cup entries, four in Pro-Am, two in Silver Cup and no Am Cup competitors.
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is the largest contingent with four Audi R8 LMS GT3s, all in the top class, while Grasser Racing Team and AKKA ASP each have three cars entered.
A surprise entry comes from 3Y Technologies which will run the Sprint Cup’s only BMW M6 GT3 while ROWE Racing elects to only enter the Endurance races this season.
The low turnout for the Sprint Cup, which will have an altered format this season with both races paying equal points, is in contrast to the 50-strong Endurance Cup entry.
Rising costs are expected to have played a part in the reduced interest with several teams opting for the German-based ADAC GT Masters series instead, which has almost 40 confirmed GT3 entries.
Additionally, manufacturers are no longer required to have entries in the Sprint Cup in order to be eligible to compete in the Pro class of the Endurance Cup.
Nevertheless, SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO Stephane Ratel remains positive about the Sprint Cup’s prospects this year.
“This is down from the 32 cars we had last year, but further one-off entries that have already been confirmed for selected rounds will bring us closer to the ideal number for Sprint races, which we have previously estimated at 24,” Ratel said.
“Above all we want to remain true to the founding principles of the series: placing equal emphasis on professional and non-professional drivers to ensure full grids and a high standard of competition.
“I know that we’ll deliver on that promise in 2018.”
The Sprint Cup season will get underway at Zolder on April 6-8.