Austin round of SRO's Intercontinental GT Challenge canned for 2016

The US round of the new-for-2016 Intercontinental GT Challenge set for Austin in March has been cancelled

Austin round of SRO's Intercontinental GT Challenge canned for 2016

Series boss Stephane Ratel, who launched plans for a challenge series combining four big GT3 enduros last September, blamed a lack of support from European teams for the decision to axe the 1000km race scheduled for March 6.

"‎Despite interest from a good number of American teams for our proposed event, the difficulty we had to motivate European teams to cross the Atlantic ahead of an extremely competitive Blancpain GT Series convinced us it was better to postpone the introduction of the American round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge to October 2017," he explained.

"Probably 90 per cent of our teams will be using new cars this year and some are saying that they haven't received them yet and the deadline for shipping the cars is approaching.

"We didn't want to do the race badly, so we decided to wait until next year; we are still committed to the idea of an American GT3 endurance race."

He said it made more sense to schedule the event for after the end of the respective European and North American seasons and put on what he described as "a grand GT final" next year.

Austin remained "the right place" to host the event in 2017, Ratel insisted.

Interest from North American teams was good, according to Ratel, who was expecting 12 to 15 local cars for an event that was taking place on the bill of the Pirelli World Challenge series opener.

The inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge will now be made up of three events: the Bathurst 12 Hours later this month, the Spa 24 Hours Blancpain Endurance Series round in July and the Sepang 12 Hours at the end of the year.

The series has been devised for manufacturers, who would use local teams to represent them and supply them with factory support and drivers.

Ratel said that he had verbal commitments from three manufacturers for the inaugural challenge and was hoping for a fourth before he makes an announcement of the registered marques ahead of the Bathurst race on February 7.

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