SRO Reveal New Bahrain GT Festival for 2018

by Jean-Paul Hackett

SRO Motorsports Group and Bahrain International Circuit have announced the launch of the Bahrain GT Festival, which will take place at the Home of Motorsport in the Middle East on 30 November – 1 December 2018.

This two-day event will include the new FIA GT Nations Cup, the SRO GT4 World Final, and Porsche GT3 Challenge Middle East. Each category will contest multiple races, with some competing under the lights on Friday evening. With further on-track action from Patrick Peter’s Classic Endurance Racing Series, the Bahrain GT Festival will be a real celebration of international motorsport in the region.

The FIA GT Nations Cup will provide the headline act, with drivers from across the globe descending on the Bahrain International Circuit to fight for national glory.

A maximum of one car can be entered per country, with each including a Silver and a Bronze driver of the same nationality. Drivers will be selected by their National Sporting Authority (ASN), while cars may be entered by any team, regardless of nationality, with one team permitted to enter cars for multiple nations.

The liveries of the cars will integrate the national colours of the entrants to make the teams more identifiable to fans at the circuit and on television.

Two 80-minute practice sessions will allow drivers to familiarise themselves with the 5.4km Bahrain International Circuit, followed by two 20-minute qualifying sessions that will set the grid for a pair of 60-minute qualifying races. The event will conclude with a 60-minute main race that will crown the title-winning drivers and their country.

“The GT3 category is popular around the world, with strong competitions organised nationally in addition to the hugely successful FIA GT World Cup,” said FIA President Jean Todt. “The format for this exciting new FIA GT Nations Cup, with ASNs selecting two drivers to compete for their country, is very unusual in motorsport, and it will provide an engaging spectacle for the fans.”

As well as the FIA GT Nations Cup, the Bahrain GT Festival will deliver a packed weekend of on-track action thanks to some significant support events, including the inaugural SRO GT4 World Final.

Devised by SRO, the GT4 concept has gone from strength to strength in recent years. By making use of machinery from 12 global automotive brands, this international contest will feature the category’s best competitors from all four corners of the globe.

The GT4 World Final will be open to line-ups competing for Pro-Am (Gold-Bronze), Silver Cup (Silver-Silver) and Am (Bronze-Bronze) honours at the Bahrain International Circuit, with the format of two 60-minute qualifying races followed by a main 60-minute event mirroring that used by the FIA GT Nations Cup.

Entry is open to competitors from the 12 series either directly promoted by SRO or organised through franchise agreements around the world. The cost of sea freight to the event will be met by the promoter, ensuring a truly global mix of teams and drivers.

The Porsche GT3 Challenge Middle East will add local flavour to the Festival. Using the German marque’s newest GT3 Cup car and based at the Bahrain International Circuit, the one-make series features drivers from the region and further afield competing in highly competitive sprint races.

Forming part of the series’ 2018-2019 schedule, the Festival will give drivers a golden opportunity to compete in front of the world’s most accomplished GT racing professionals.

While much of the focus will be on contemporary GT equipment, fans will also have an opportunity to take a step back in time at the Bahrain GT Festival thanks to Patrick Peter’s Classic Endurance Racing Series.

This category features packed starting grids and combines iconic machines such as the Ford GT40, Porsche 910, and Ferrari 512. Usually found at Europe’s premier venues, the Classic Endurance Racing Series will make the journey to Bahrain to add a historical flavour to the GT Festival.

Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit commented, “Since we held our first GT Festival back in 2004, the popularity of GT racing has grown significantly in the region, and so we are excited to be hosting a brand-new weekend of high-quality racing.

“The FIA GT Nations Cup will include some of the very best drivers from around the world, and we look forward to working with SRO for what will be a packed programme of racing for fans.”

With national pride at stake in the FIA GT Nations Cup and an all-star supporting cast, a landmark weekend of international motorsport is in store later this year at the Bahrain International Circuit.

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