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GT World Challenge Europe

New French Restrictions Put Paul Ricard 1000km in Question

SRO “working” to ensure GTWC Europe finale can go ahead after France tightens measures…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

France’s introduction of tighter social restrictions has raised questions about the status of next month’s GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season finale at Paul Ricard.

New measures aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus, including a requirement for people to stay at home with specific exceptions and the closure of businesses deemed non-essential, will start at midnight tonight.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday that the ‘lockdown’ restrictions will be in place until Dec. 1. while a review will be made after a fortnight.

The start of the event at Paul Ricard, which features a six-hour GTWC Europe Endurance Cup race on Nov. 15, falls within the initial two-week implementation period.

A further address on Thursday from French Prime Minister Jean Castex declared that “events, sports, and the cinema and performing arts sectors will also be closed” however it was also stated that “professional competitions can continue”.

French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said on Thursday that professional sports training and events will be able to go ahead under the restrictions.

SRO Motorsports Group, which runs the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup, issued the following statement to Sportscar365:

“SRO is currently working with the French Motor Sport Federation, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the prefectures of the areas where the circuit is based in order to stage our event within the framework of the decrees that have been issued, namely to maintain professional sports behind closed doors and with strict sanitary protocol conditions.”

GTWC Europe teams are among those waiting to hear if Paul Ricard can go ahead, including those with drivers who have contracted rides in other series on Nov. 14-15.

The FIA World Endurance Championship 8 Hours of Bahrain and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring are both due to take place on the same weekend as the Endurance Cup finale.

WEC squad Team Project 1 today announced that it has brought in Joerg Bergmeister on standby to replace Matteo Cairoli to cover the “possible event clash” with Paul Ricard.

Cairoli is in contention for the Endurance Cup title with Dinamic Motorsport, while Sportscar365 understands that fellow Porsche drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell are also currently set to appear in the Paul Ricard 1000km with GPX Racing.

New restrictions in Germany that were announced on Wednesday have already resulted in the cancelation of the NLS double-header season finale on Nov. 7-8. 

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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