Stephane Ratel is anticipating a better balanced grid between the Blancpain Sprint and Endurance Cups this year, with the addition of new incentives for teams and manufacturers competing in the entire Blancpain GT Series.
A greater emphasis on the overall Blancpain GT title, as well as a mandate of at least one Pro Cup entry per manufacturer to compete in the entire Sprint and Endurance season to be eligible for the Total 24 Hours of Spa, has seen entry projections up in the Sprint Cup.
At the same time, the Endurance Cup, which saw record grids last year, is expected to see a slight reduction, according to the SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO.
“Last year, we had 60 entries in Endurance and only 18 [cars] in Sprint. You count 78 in total. We want 78 in total but balanced differently,” Ratel told Sportscar365.
“If I have 28 in Sprint, then we will have 50 in Endurance. It’s just a question of getting the same number of cars, balancing some to have two well-balanced series instead of one with a lot of cars.”
The Sprint Cup is set to see involvement from a number of new teams, including Konrad Motorsport, Rowe Racing, Kessel Racing and the return of Grasser Racing Team with three Lamborghini Huracan GT3s.
Additionally, Bentley is expected to be on the grid with a yet-to-be-announced team in the five-round Cup, which kicks off the Blancpain GT Series season in Misano in early April.
“We have transformed it,” Ratel said. “We have a Blancpain GT title of all the ten races. You have an Endurance Cup and a Sprint Cup.
“We’re very confident. But experience has told me to wait until you get the money in the bank to release an entry… We’ve been here long enough. But it’s looking good of course.”
With a new wave of GT3 machinery, including the BMW M6 GT3, Ferrari 488 GT3, Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Porsche 911 GT3 R, SRO will be conducing its annual Balance of Performance test later this month at Paul Ricard.
The test, scheduled for Feb. 27-28 will also be attended by officials from Pirelli World Challenge, which the SRO has formed a technical alliance with.
“We have a major BoP test at the end of the month with all of the new cars and all of the old cars,” Ratel said. “All of the manufacturers are coming and it will be a very important event for us. it’s a very deep test.”
Ratel said he will personally attend many of the World Challenge races this year, as part of the greater collaboration between the two organizations.