Sportscar365 caught up with Stephane Ratel, president of SRO Motorsports Group, following today’s Pirelli World Challenge State of the Series presentation at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
How did the series evolve this year, to lead to the greater partnership?
“Our initial plan, when I came to St. Pete, the first step was to bring the winners to Baku. Unfortunately, thanks to Formula 1, Baku became the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The thing that was confirmed, didn’t happen. But that helped us to know each other.
“The second step was to bring a long-distance race as part of the package. It was a little bit up in the air. When I finalized the agreement with Bathurst in Australia, we took over. And we successfully finalized something in Sepang. So with Bathurst, Sepang, Spa, it became logical to do something else on another continent.
“The idea came to do this opportunity. Over the course of the year, there has been a lot of controversy and discussion, technical and BoP. So a number of combining factors suggested maybe we should look at working together with Pirelli World Challenge on that.
“When Greg took over, we continued this dialogue. We were very open, and we made it reality.”
What do you foresee as the hardest part of next year’s partnership? Will the BoP standardization help matters?
“In our bill of activity, the most important part is to get the product right. Then you don’t have all these complaints and aggravation. You can really concentrate then on promotion.
“I believe with our experience with BoP will help. In Europe, now, we don’t have that discussion. It’s accepted by the competitors that we’re (providing) a fair playing field. You can always add a car that’s an evolution and that disturbs something.
“But the fact we’re all on the same tire, the fact we have Blancpain Endurance, Pirelli World Challenge, Bathurst, Sepang and others, give us a wide variety of circuits to work with. We can really propose a BoP to be recognized as accurate by everyone.”
Do you see an opportunity for there to be more PWC/Blancpain crossover beyond this first weekend at COTA?
“The opportunity we see is for GT3 and GTS cars to come race and COTA. Many of the cars in Pirelli World Challenge sprint races have an extra car at home, so they can put another car in that race.
“Our objective is to get American cars, and get some cars from Europe. That’s the idea. And we go from there.”