The World Motor Sports Council (WMSC) will hear a proposition from the FIA's GT Commission later this month that will unite the technical and sporting regulations for the GT1 World Championship and the GT3 European Championship.
The GT3 European Championship has been by far the most successful of the FIA's range of GT sprint race race series since its beginning in 2005 under the promotion of the SRO Motorsports Group. In contrast, the FIA GT1 World Championship has struggled for entries since it was spun off from the FIA GT series at the end of 2009.
With these factors in mind, as well as the fact that many of the current GT1 cars are coming to the end of the homologation period organisers will seek to unite the regulations for the two series.
Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of the SRO Motorsports Group. “With the difficult economic climate and the ever-growing competition in motorsport we felt that the unification of the GT1 World and GT3 European Championships' technical and sporting regulations was the best solution to guarantee the growth of the sprint format for GT cars and progress toward the ultimate goal of 10 teams representing 10 brands in the World Championship.”
The larger number of brands – including Mercedes, Ferrari, BMW, Audi and McLaren – will help the SRO towards their stated aim of having a 2012 GT1 championship contested by ten teams, each the sole representative of a brand. “Such a diversity of prestigious models in a single category would make the FIA GT1 World Championship unique in international motorsport,” Ratel explains.
The proposal will also mean the GT3 Championship adopting the format of Qualifying and Championship Race used by the GT1 World Championship, as opposed to the race one and race two format the GT3 cars contested in 2011. The GT1 series will switch away from the three-stage 'F1-alike' qualifying system to the two separate sessions – one for each driver – of GT3.
The main difference between the two series will be that the driver grading system will remain in the GT3 series, with the GT1 championship continuing to be pitched at more professional drivers and teams. However, the unification, Ratel believes will make the GT3 European Championship a “perfect training ground” for prospective GT1 competitors.
There is no plan to combine the two championships. However, Ratel has confirmed that in a situation where both GT3 and GT1 championships are struggling for full grids a merger could be possible.