Blancpain Sprint Series cut from seven to five rounds for 2016

The Blancpain Sprint Series has been been cut from seven to five rounds for 2016, with Brands Hatch one of only two circuits likely to remain on the calendar

Blancpain Sprint Series cut from seven to five rounds for 2016

Series boss Stephane Ratel said that the move was aimed at increasing the number of teams contesting both the BSS and its sister Blancpain Endurance Series, which will remain at five races, next season.

The two series combine under the banner of the Blancpain GT Series, which has its own end-of-season drivers' and teams' champions and prize fund.

"We want greater integration and teams to do both, but 12 races is a very heavy schedule," Ratel told AUTOSPORT.

"Five plus five will be easier for the teams and don't forget that 10 races including Spa was the basis of the FIA GT Championship for 10 years - it is nothing extravagant."

The BSS calendar has undergone a major overhaul for next year, with only Brands Hatch and, most likely, Misano retaining their places on the schedule.

They are joined by events at the Nurburgring, the Hungaroring and Barcelona.

"I think we now have a very good calendar with five very nice circuits," added Ratel, who said that Misano should retain its place on the schedule.

The class structure of the BSS will fall into line with the BES: there will Pro Cup, Pro-Am and Gentlemen Trophy divisions in 2016.

"I want the same classes across the two championships to simplify it, though I am not sure how many gentlemen we will have in the sprint races," explained Ratel.

The Silver Cup, for silver-rated drivers 25 or under that runs only in the BSS at present, will become an entry-level category that will be incorporated into the five sprint races and two of the enduros.

The category will be open to 2014 cars running in 2015 specification and only two sets of tyres rather than four will be be allowed in the BSS, which will mean fixed-time pitstops rather than wheel changes.

Ratel has also announced that he intends to prevent manufacturers from entering the Pro category in the blue-riband BES round at Spa unless they are represented by two cars in all 10 Blancpain races.

"If a manufacturer wants to race in the Pro Cup at Spa it has to do all the races," he explained.

"But I'm not saying M-Sport [Bentley's factory team in the BES] has to do the races, because there are Continental GT3s running in the BSS with HTP Motorsport."

Prize money will be increased from €100,000 per weekend to €150,000.

2016 BLANCPAIN SPRINT SERIES CALENDAR

April 9-10 - Misano* (I)
May 7-8 - Brands Hatch (GB)
July 2-3 - Nurburgring (D)
August 27-28 - Hungaroring (HU)
October 1-2 - Barcelona (E)

2016 BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES CALENDAR

April 24 - Monza (I)
May 15 - Silverstone (GB)
June 25 - Paul Ricard 1000km (F)
July 30-31 - Spa 24 Hours (B)
September 17-18 - Nurburgring (D)

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