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Ratel Aims for Continuity in 2015

1.5 million Euros on offer in Blancpain GT Series in 2015…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

During his annual press conference in the build up to the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Stephane Ratel focused on continuing the grow of the Blancpain GT Series in 2015.

Satisfied that the so called GT convergence is now out of the way, Ratel immediately emphasized the still growing success of the GT3 concept, with the interest of a yet to be confirmed new major manufacturer on its way, and with three existing models being replaced by new ones in 2015.

The Blancpain GT Series will remain a 12-round series next year, with five Endurance and seven Sprint Series events.

Monza (April 10-12), Silverstone (May 23-24), Paul Ricard (June 26-28), Spa (July 22-26) and the Nürburgring (September 19-20) make up the BES calendar, with the only change being the 1000km event taking place at Paul Ricard next year, instead of at the German season finale.

Nothing was confirmed for the Sprint Series, with Ratel looking at several new opportunities in Italy, Germany and even Russia and Brazil, all of which are competing with the existing events for the seven available slots. The final BSS calendar will be presented at the end of September.

The Baku World Challenge 2014 season finale was also confirmed, with Ratel hoping to return in the years to come, even as Formula 1 becomes the lead act in 2016.

With an average field of 20 cars up until now, he was also confident that number would grow to 24-26 entries in the second half of the Sprint Series season, with hopes of a 30 car capacity grid in Azerbaijan, where all additional costs are covered by the organizers.

A substantial prize fund is now also introduced in the Endurance Series, with $135,000 on offer at each round ($1.5 million in total) to attract more top teams and drivers in the Pro Cup.

The move is another step in establishing the combined Blancpain GT Series, with only the teams taking part in both series receiving the full amount, while only half of that is on offer for those competing in only the Sprint or Endurance Series.

The CEO of SRO Motorsports Group also touched the subject of a potential FIA GT3 World Cup, without confirming SRO would organize such an event.

On a side note, the Frenchman presented a new project, called the “Ultracar Sports Club”, inviting owners of cars such as the Maserati MC12, Aston Martin 777, Ferrari Enzo FXX, McLaren P1, Porsche 918… to run on track during two of the most exclusive events on the calendar.

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

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