– Silverstone and Hungaroring join amateur-only series’ schedule
Next year’s Blancpain GT Sports Club season will increase from five to six European rounds after experiencing a surge in popularity during 2016.
SRO’s amateur-only series has balanced a mix of GTE, GT3 and single-make ‘trophy’ cars since its inception in 2015 when an average of 15 entries filled its grid. But with that number rising to 25 this year, and more new arrivals expected in 2017, championship bosses have decided to expand the calendar.
Misano once again stages the season opener in Italy on April 1/2 before the Blancpain GT Sports Club makes its maiden trip to Silverstone in mid-May. The Home of British Motorsport replaces the much narrower Brands Hatch, which made its championship debut earlier this year.
Paul Ricard Circuit in southern France remains one of the calendar’s key components on June 23/24 before Spa-Francorchamps’ Ardennes rollercoaster again provides a tough challenge during the Total 24 Hours of Spa race week.
Another new stop on the calendar – Budapest’s Hungaroring – plays host to the penultimate round in late August before Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya once again brings matters to a close on September 30/October 1.
As always each Blancpain GT Sports Club meeting will feature one or two practice sessions and a qualifying session before a limited points-scoring 25-minute Qualifying Race decides the grid for a 40-minute Main Race.
The three-class structure is also set to continue, with all entries eligible for Overall honours, drivers aged 60 and over contesting the Iron Cup, and drivers racing single-make or ‘trophy’ cars competing for the Xtra Cup.
Once again every Blancpain GT Sports Club round will act as an official Blancpain GT Series support category at a combination of Endurance and Sprint Cup weekends throughout the year.
Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO: “The Blancpain GT Sports Club has experienced incredible growth over the past two seasons, and – just as we did last season – adding an extra round to the 2017 schedule is recognition of that success. GT3 has become increasingly competitive and clearly Blancpain GT Sports Club’s more relaxed environment is exactly what a growing number of amateurs want from their racing. Equally, balancing GT3 with GTE and single-make cars like Renault’s RS01 not only provides greater variety and spectacle but also allows a wider range of drivers to compete on equal footing without needing to swap or buy new cars. I have no doubt the series will prove even more popular in 2017.