Blancpain boss Ratel thinks Zanardi will boost GTs like Loeb

Ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi is the perfect figurehead to replace nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb in the Blancpain Sprint Series, according to championship boss Stephane Ratel

Blancpain boss Ratel thinks Zanardi will boost GTs like Loeb

Zanardi's participation in the 2014 GT series was announced by BMW on Tuesday.

Last year Loeb contested the then FIA GT Series with his own McLaren team, but will now focus on his Citroen World Touring Car Championship deal.

Ratel believes Zanardi will raise his series' level as Loeb did.

"We need a hero who is bigger than racing like Sebastien, and Alex is the perfect replacement," Ratel told AUTOSPORT.

"He is an amazing personality, who can only help us in terms of TV numbers and promotion.

"We hope he will become a figurehead for us, someone who will motivate more teams and drivers to join the series."

Zanardi is returning to full-time racing with the ROAL Motorsport squad, with which he raced in World Touring Cars up to the end of the 2009 season.

Sebastien Loeb Racing has stated a desire to continue in Ratel's sprint series in 2014 despite its co-owner's move to touring cars, but it has yet to indicate any firm plans.

Ratel is aiming for a grid of 25-26 cars for the sprint series in 2014.

He hopes that a link-up with the sister Blancpain Endurance Series, which will result in overall champion being crowned based on points scored across the two championships, and a €100,000 (£82,000) prize fund for each event, will boost entries from around the 20-car mark in FIA GTs last season.

"We are looking for a solid grid, but I cannot tell you at the moment exactly where we will be - right now it could be anywhere between 18 and 30 cars," he said.

shares
comments
Alex Zanardi returns to motorsport with ROAL BMW Blancpain GT seat
Previous article

Alex Zanardi returns to motorsport with ROAL BMW Blancpain GT seat

Next article

Aston Martin wants to enter works car in Blancpain series

Aston Martin wants to enter works car in Blancpain series
Load comments
The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership Plus

The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership

This weekend’s British GT finale will be a tense title showdown for some but, for those not in the championship fight, it’s a chance to end a challenging year on a high. In the latter camp is Paddock Motorsport's team owner Martin Plowman, whose 2021 season has been a rollercoaster ride of non-stop learning

National
Oct 15, 2021
The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion Plus

The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion

It has won most of the big prizes in endurance racing across its six years in service, but the BMW M6 GT3's key weaknesses meant only a devoted few teams persisted with running it. As it prepares to bow out at season's end, the teams and drivers involved in its story share the secrets of an unpopular winner

GT
Oct 7, 2021
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021