Ratel expects big future for Baku FIA GT round

Stephane Ratel believes that the FIA GT Sprint finale in Azerbaijan can become an end-of-season festival attracting the winners of all the major series run for GT3 machinery around Europe

Ratel expects big future for Baku FIA GT round

Ratel made the claim on the announcement of capacity 30-car entry for this year's event on the streets of Baku on November 23/24, which includes 20 cars in the Pro category.

"I am very happy with the quantity and the quality," he said. "I think this is the most competitive GT sprint field since the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship.

"In addition to our regular entrants, we have teams from the Blancpain Endurance Series, from French GTs and I am very happy to have the winners of the ADAC GT Masters in Callaway Competition.

"The idea is to have 24 of our sprint series competitors and extra six who have won major championships around Europe. That would be the dream scenario in the future."

Ratel explained that his only disappointment with this year's entry was the absence of British GT Championship winner, the Beachdean Aston Martin squad.

Callaway has entered a solo Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3 for ADAC co-champion Daniel Keilwitz and sportscar star Jeroen Bleekemolen, who contested two German series rounds with the team this season.

The British Fortec Motorsport squad is taking in the event at the end of its maiden season of sportscar racing with a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

The Mercedes will be shared by Fortec Formula Renault 3.5 driver Oli Webb and Benji Hetherington, who have both raced the car in 2013.

Series frontrunner WRT is fielding a fourth Audi R8 LMS ultra for Audi DTM driver Fillipe Albuquerque and British and French GT regular Gregoire Demoustier.

The Baku event has already been boosted by the announcement of cars from Blancpain teams' champion Marc VDS, former GT1 World frontrunner Hexis Racing and Boutsen Ginion Racing with a line-up including McLaren Formula 1 development squad member Stoffel Vandoorne.

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Author Gary Watkins
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