SRO launches new Blancpain GT Asian and European Southern Cups

GT boss Stephane Ratel will grow his portfolio of championships with new series in Asia and Europe next season

SRO launches new Blancpain GT Asian and European Southern Cups

His Stephane Ratel Organisation, which expanded into North America this year with the purchase of a stake in the Pirelli World Challenge, will organise the Blancpain GT Series Asian Cup in 2017.

The six-event series will start and finish at Sepang and encompass events at Buriram in Thailand, Suzuka, Fuji and Shanghai.

The series will follow the British GT Championship format with classes for GT3 and GT4 and two one-hour races at each event.

"We have series on two continents already and 11 or 12 manufacturers trusting in us, so the expansion of GT3 will continue in Asia," said Ratel.

"Asia is still a very young market, and we looked at doing different things and thought the best option was to do our own thing."

Ratel said he was not concerned about going up against the existing GT Asia Series.

"With a particular emphasis on GT4, we believe we have a good potential," he continued.

"We are not completely new to Asia: we took over the Sepang 12 Hours and the FIA GT World Cup in Macau last year."

The second new series is the one promised by Ratel earlier in the year aimed at reviving GT racing in France after the problems encountered by the French GT Championship and its subsequent demise.

The GT4 European Series Southern Cup will be made up of five French events at Nogaro, Pau, Dijon, Magny-Cours and Paul Ricard and a race at Barcelona in Spain.

This will run in parallel with the GT4 Northern Cup, which will include events at Brands Hatch and Spa.

Ratel also has plans to introduce a third GT4 series in 2018 called the Alps Cup, focused on Italy.

SRO has teamed up with the French motorsport federation, the FFSA, to sanction both GT4 series.

The calendar for the Blancpain GT Series will be tweaked for next season.

The Endurance Cup race at the Nurburgring has been replaced by a season-closer at Barcelona in October

The Spanish track's Sprint fixture has been taken by a round at Zandvoort on an undisclosed date, while the Hungaroring could retain its August date or be replaced by the Red Bull Ring.

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