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GT World Challenge Europe

SRO Promises Ten Rounds Amid New Contingency Plans

SRO guarantees 10-round GTWC Europe schedule, working on plans to protect global races…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

The SRO Motorsports Group has pledged to “absolutely guarantee” a full ten-round championship for the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, and has further contingency plans for its other series around the world.

In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel confirmed details of the company’s plans in case of more forced event cancelations amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has already canceled the GTWC Europe season-opener at Monza, putting into place a contingency plan that has added an additional round at Imola at the end of the season.

Now, the SRO is working on plans to replace events until June. Three GTWC Europe rounds at scheduled during May, at Brands Hatch, Silverstone and Circuit Paul Ricard.

“We have worked to anticipate everything as early as possible,” said Ratel. “That is why we announced that we had made provisions should Monza be canceled.

“When that became the case, we put our plan into action.

“Now we are making provisions for cancellations until June and we already have a plan in place to guarantee – to absolutely guarantee – that we will deliver a ten-round championship.

“That is what this exceptional grid fully deserves.”

Ratel says a ‘behind closed doors’ approach, which is already being carried out by a number of series, including for DTM and Super GT’s pre-season tests, is possible.

However, the sheer number of personnel involved in the series, with 53 cars registered for the Endurance Cup this year, could surpass local restrictions on large gatherings.

“One option is to maintain the current calendar and temporarily run without spectators until it is safe to do so,” Ratel continued.

“However, as we have up to 2,500 people working at a normal Endurance event it will come down to any restrictions imposed by the public authorities.

“Another option is to put a calendar in place that runs ten events beginning in June. In all cases, our teams should know that their business is secure with a full calendar for the season.

“We have raised the maximum number of cars admitted in Sprint from 28 cars to 33 as a provision for a potential reduction in the number of entries due to the current uncertainty, both economic and due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In addition to possible restrictions for GTWC Europe, the SRO is working on plans to protect GTWC America and Asia, as well as its national championships in the UK and France.

GTWC America’s season got underway at Circuit of The Americas last weekend while GTWC Asia is scheduled to start on March 28-29 at Sepang.

Pirelli GT4 America and TC America, which are both organized by SRO America, are set to race during the NTT IndyCar Series event at St. Pete this weekend, which is also under threat.

“Globally, the SRO policy is to follow the FIA’s recommendations,” said Ratel.

“We will respect the instructions of public authorities and we will cancel events if drivers are prohibited from entering a country where the event is scheduled to take place.

“We are working on contingency plans for Asia and America should all events be cancelled until June. The same is true of the French and British championships. For now, we will see how things progress.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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