With the 2019 edition of the Laguna Seca California 8 Hours set for March 30-31, the calendar for the fourth season of the Intercontinental GT Challenge is now complete. For the first time in its history, the only global championship reserved for GT cars will race on all five continents.
During his press conference at the final round of the Blancpain GT Series in Barcelona, Stephane Ratel confirmed next year’s date for the Laguna Seca California 8 Hours, which will now take place during the first half of the season. The first two editions of the American round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge have taken place at the end of the season – with the upcoming finale on October 26-28 2018 deciding both Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ championships and the Bronze Drivers title fight.
The date for the third edition of the Laguna Seca California 8 Hours is now set for March 30-31. One of the advantages of this springtime date is that teams competing in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour (February 2-3) will now have an easier time to transport their equipment to the United States.
After the traditional Australian season opener and the third edition of the longest race on the iconic Laguna Seca circuit, it’s time for the biggest GT race on the planet: during the last weekend of July the 71st edition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa will be organised.
After the success of the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours in 2018, the second edition of the Asian round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge will be something to look forward to. Just like this year it will be the penultimate round of the championship.
And as previously announced, the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge will end with a new round on the African continent, the revived and prestigious Kyalami 9 Hours. The race on the former South African Grand Prix track took place in the 1960s to 1980s and was contested by legendary cars such as the Ferrari 250 GT0 or the Porsche 917. Former Kyalami 9 Hours winners include Jacky Ickx, Jochen Mass, Brian Redman and Clay Regazzoni.
2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge Calendar:
February 2-3: Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour
March 30-31: Laguna Seca California 8 Hours
July 27-28: Total 24 Hours of Spa
August 24-25: Suzuka 10 Hours
November 2-3: Kyalami 9 Hours
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Pirelli – Official Tyre Supplier
Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer and world leader in the automotive industry. It has an exclusive relationship with over 50 racing series worldwide, including Formula One.
Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past. The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.
SRO Motorsports Group, the architect of modern GT racing
Over the past 25 years SRO has specialised in the promotion and organisation of motorsport series around the world.
Inextricably linked with GT racing’s revival in the early 1990s, currently SRO predominantly promotes series that adhere to the successful GT3 and GT4 regulations. Indeed, these rules – a common framework allowing manufacturers, teams and drivers to compete equally with one another – have helped to establish SRO as the global leader in customer GT racing.
Today, SRO’s influence and organisation can be seen around the world. Its flagship continues to be the European-based Blancpain GT Series, which features both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Its annual highlight remains the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The same Pirelli tyres and Balance of Performance parameters governing the Blancpain GT Series have also been adopted in the United States by the Pirelli World Challenge (of which SRO is the controlling shareholder), while SRO expanded its successful platform East in 2017 by establishing Blancpain GT Series Asia.
In addition, the world’s best GT races from all four corners of the globe are brought together under the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The 2018 edition features four events – the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours, and the California 8 Hours of Laguna Seca.
SRO is also strong domestically. The multi-class British GT Championship, over which it has presided since 2005, pairs GT3 with GT4 machinery. The FFSA French GT Championship, for many years run by SRO, returned to the fold in 2017, and was added to the existing GT4 European Series. GT4’s incredibly successful first season in France provided SRO with the blueprint and confidence to expand the class’ European footprint further. A new regional series to support the flourishing GT4 class has been added in 2018: the GT4 Central European Cup.
In addition, SRO’s world-renowned Balance of Performance regulations are licensed by other series running GT3 and/or GT4 machinery, such as Super GT in Japan, the Australian GT Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and the VLN in Germany and the China GT Championship. SRO also works closely with the FIA when organising its prestigious Macau FIA GT World Cup race.
While Macau caters solely for professional teams and drivers, SRO also understands the important role amateurs play in GT racing’s global success and sustainability. That is why it operates the SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France – and Curbstone Track Events, which provide the ultimate track driving opportunities on world-renowned circuits. Many of its clients have subsequently graduated to the Blancpain GT Sports Club, the first competitive stepping stone towards gaining the confidence and racecraft required to compete in a Pro/Am environment.
SRO continues to focus on new initiatives that meet the demands of a fast-changing motorsport industry. In light of this, the organisation will launch the inaugural Bahrain GT Festival in November 2018, working in collaboration with the FIA and the Bahrain International Circuit.
This end-of-season event will feature two new standalone races: the FIA GT Nations Cup for GT3 cars, and the GT4 world final, the SRO GT4 International Cup. The Nations Cup will see drivers competing for international honour in the colours of their home countries, while the GT4 contest will bring together the global elite from this rapidly-growing category.
What’s more, SRO will also organise the first GT4 Europe Final at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit in October, creating yet another competitive challenge for the continent’s many GT4 racers.
SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel and has offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong. Its dedicated team of full-time and freelance staff work with the support of numerous national sporting authorities and sanctioning bodies to offer teams, drivers and manufacturers the world’s best professional, Pro/Am and amateur GT racing platforms.