FIA GT1 in Jeopardy after Promoter SRO Motorsport Group Steps Down
By Community | July 19, 2012
The FIA GT1 promoter Stephane Ratel’s SRO Motorsport Group has stepped down from it’s role putting the Championship in doubt.
Ratel informed the FIA of his decision not to continue as the promoter of the world championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship at this week’s meeting of the GT Commission. He stressed that his organization would bid to bring this year’s series to a “successful finish” and will announce a revised calendar next week.
The decision was made against the backdrop of falling car counts and the cancellation of two races on this year’s schedule. Just 15 cars have been present at each of the past two FIA GT1 events and both events in China, Beijing Goldenport and Ordos, have been canceled.
Ratel blamed his decision on the worsening economic situation in Europe.
“When we started the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2010, the economic situation was difficult,” he said. “Now it is impossible. Even if we are a world championship, the majority of the money is coming from Europe, and that money is not there any more.”
He explained that the costs associated with running a world championship, including the fee demanded by the FIA from promoters, had been a factor in the decision.
Ratel said that he would announce his plans for the future at next week’s traditional SRO press conference ahead of the 24 Hours of Spa, a round of his Blancpain Endurance Series. He stressed that he was not ending his relationship with the FIA.
The plan is that there will be three or four races yet this season in the GT1 series.
Ratel is in Russia this week finalizing details for the event at Moscow Raceway, which is likely to move from its end-of-September date. There is likely to be an event at the Nürburgring in September, and the series is scheduled to conclude at the Buddh International Circuit in India in December.
It is highly unlikely that any other organization would step in to take over the running of the world championship for next season.
Ratel’s world championship grew out of the FIA GT Championship in 2010, with a new rulebook and a new format of two one-hour, pit-stop sprint races without refueling. A lack of cars built to the new regulations resulted in the adoption of the GT3 rules for the 2012 season.