The Blancpain GT Series has found itself increasing in professionalism over the last few years. To combat this, SRO has implemented a number of changes for 2018.
While this has been beneficial to fans wanting to see the top in GT racing, it has also seen a gradual reduction in their Pro-Am entries in recent seasons. The SRO’s new plan, which had been announced last August, will see an overhaul in many of the series traditions including race formats and Class focus.
Most notably they will reduce the Pro class to a maximum of 26 entries. Though plan to raise the bar for the Total 24 Hours of Spa due to the combined Intercontinental GT Challenge event.
In the semi-professional classes, driver pairings will also change. Pro-Am teams will see their professional spend less time in the car, while Am will allow a silver to be added to their Bronze pairing at Spa.
The Silver Cup will also be introduced to the Endurance Cup, becoming an overall class, with its own title. Extra prize money, funded by TM Performance an innovative accident compensation fund, will be used to attract entrants, with the option of Bronze driver being allowed at Spa.
|Class||Sprint Cup||Endurance Cup||Spa 24|
|Pro-Am||Platinum* + Bronze||Platinum* + 2 Bronze||2 Platinum* + 2 Bronze|
|Am||Bronze + Bronze||3 Bronze||4 Bronze or
3 Bronze + Silver
|Silver||Silver + Silver||3 Silver or|
2 Silver + Bronze
|4 Silver or
3 Silver + Bronze
*Platinum is the highest rating. Professional driver can be anyone ranked above a Bronze.
Individual changes have been to both Cups, with the Endurance event rewarding all drivers for qualifying, ensuring that it will simply not be up to the teams strongest competitors.
In qualifying, the combined times of all three drivers in the car will count towards the overall time.
In the event of two drivers, one will run twice. These rules will include Spa as each car will be given one set of tyres per 15 minute session. Race rules will remain the same.
In the Sprint Cup qualifying session, they will move to a more GT3 style with Driver 1 setting a time in Q1. They will then get to start the first race. Driver 2 will then do the same, setting a time in Q2 and starting the second Race. Points will be awarded for pole.
The obviously means that the Sprint Cup will move away from its ‘qualifying race / main race’ format, though to keep it equal to the Endurance Cup, the winners of both races will receive fewer points.
Finally, the SRO, in an attempt to properly monitor its competitors will introduce Driver-facing cameras and GPS, in an attempt to properly record incidents. In the event of accidents, a lifting bar will also be placed on all cars to make them easier to remove, useful for narrower circuits such as Zolder and Brands Hatch.
While these changes could seem restrictive to many of the drivers, it will see the overall prize fund increase to €2million.