Ahead of the inaugural event at the Bahrain International Circuit on 30th November to 1st December, interest in the FIA’s new GT Nations Cup continues to grow.
Following its announcement at the World Motor Sport Council in June, the innovative FIA GT Nations Cup is gathering considerable momentum in the build-up to its inaugural event at the end of November.
Intended to complement the existing FIA GT World Cup, which has been held annually as part of the Macau Grand Prix since 2015 and is restricted to professional drivers categorised as either Platinum or Gold, the new FIA GT Nations Cup is an opportunity for both aspiring young competitors and gentleman drivers classed as either Silver or Bronze to compete on the world stage.
Since the event was announced in June, both the FIA and event promoter, SRO Motorsports Group, have been inundated with enquiries from drivers, teams and National Sporting Authorities (ASNs) from around the world wanting to take part.
Each ASN is entitled to nominate one driver pairing to share one GT3-spec car and represent their country. Among the nations already committed to the event are Australia, Belarus, Taiwan, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Thailand, while some of the world’s leading GT teams including AF Corse, Kessel Racing and Black Falcon will be proving technical expertise and support. Further applications have been made to the ASN’s of Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, France, Belgium, New Zealand and Indonesia who are preparing to commit to the FIA GT Nations Cup. With more competitors and nations expected to sign up the first FIA GT Nations Cup looks set to be a thrilling battle royale.
The FIA GT Nations Cup will feature two 80-minute practice sessions, allowing competitors to familiarise themselves with the 5.4km Bahrain International Circuit, followed by two 20-minute qualifying sessions that will set the grid for a pair of 60-minute qualifying races. The event will conclude with a 60-minute main race that will crown the title-winning drivers and their country.
The FIA GT Nations Cup will headline the Bahrain GT Festival, sharing a busy weekend of racing with supporting series including the SRO GT4 International Cup, Patrick Peter’s Bahrain Classic Challenge and the Porsche GT3 Challenge Middle East.
FIA President Jean Todt said: « The GT3 category is popular around the world, with strong competitions organised nationally in addition to the hugely successful FIA GT World Cup. The format for this exciting new FIA GT Nations Cup, with ASNs selecting two drivers to compete for their country, is very unusual in motor sport, and it will provide an engaging spectacle for the fans. »
Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group: « The FIA GT Nations Cup has quickly developed into a very attractive proposition. The country-based concept is proving especially popular and we are pleased to have already received firm commitments from a number of competitors. With national pride being disputed at the world-renowned Bahrain International Circuit, I believe that this will be a fantastic way to close the racing season. »