The new FIA GT1 World Championship set off in the footsteps of Formula One as it launched its inaugural season in Paris.
The series promoted by Stephane Ratel's SRO Motorsports Group is due to be contested over ten rounds, starting in April at the new Yas Marina venue in Abu Dhabi. The series has brought together a number of the world's leading GT drivers as well as some of the most famous car marques in the world with Fords, Aston Martins, Corvettes and Maseratis among those which will appear on the grid.
“Sports car racing has always been a bit messy,” Ratel said at the launch ahead of the unveiling of the 2010 cars at the Place Vendome. “Finally, after 15 years of effort, we do have 24 cars, we have two-car teams only, we have two teams per brand, two, one-hour races, and I think for the spectator it will be very easy to follow and appreciate.”
“We now have a clear product which has only been achieved before by Formula One.”
“GT racing is about the iconic, prestigious brands which are filled with history. Our ambition is to regenerate GT racing and transform it from a championship which was aiming at a specialized, somewhat limited and ageing audience and bring it to a far larger and younger fan base.”
The GT1 World Championship will join the World Rally Championship, World Touring Car Championship and, of course, Formula One as being an FIA designated 'World' title, as the Jean Todt, the FIA president explained.
“In terms of FIA World Championships, we have Formula One, WRC, WTCC – and now GT1 World Championship,” said the Frenchman who succeeded Max Mosely last October.
“I like the way the 10 GT1 World Championship races are divided geographically. It is a good balance. The championship also features very talented drivers and six great brands. I'm sure it will be very spectacular. You can be sure that me as president and my colleagues at the FIA will do everything to ensure that it succeeds.”
“It's a big privilege for me to be here to share this important moment with Stephane Ratel, whose determination and patience has brought together all the different elements to form the FIA GT1 World Championship.”
FIA GT1 World Championship Calendar
April 17 – Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
May 2 – Silverstone, Great Britain
May 23 – Brno, Czech Republic
July 4 – Paul Ricard, France
August 1 – Spa-Francochamps, Belgium
August 29 – Nurburgring, Germany
September 19 – Algarve, Portugal
November 7 – Durban, South Africa
November 28 – Interlagos, Brazil
December 5 – San Luis, Argentina