RAC­ING EAST

The Blancpain GT Series Comes to Asia

Jetgala - - CONTENT - by An­dre Frois

THE JURY IS OUT WHETHER SPEED OR EN­DURANCE IS THE LIT­MUS TEST OF A MOTORSPORT RACER. Watch­mak­ing leg­end Blancpain and Stéphane Ra­tel Or­gan­i­sa­tion (SRO) Mo­tor­sports Group pro­pose that it is in­deed both. Host­ing the an­nual Blancpain GT Series, a com­pe­ti­tion held in sev­eral Euro­pean cities, they gained renown for their Sprint and En­durance Cups for GT3 cars.

This year, rac­ers and en­thu­si­asts in Asia will fi­nally ex­pe­ri­ence their very own Blancpain GT Series, start­ing with Malaysia’s Sepang cir­cuit, and cul­mi­nat­ing in China’s re­cently con­structed 3.2-km Zhe­jiang cir­cuit. While the Euro­pean series typ­i­cally com­prises five rounds of com­pe­ti­tion for each cup, the in­au­gu­ral 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia will fea­ture six rounds of 12 races. The Asian edi­tion will ac­com­mo­date both GT3 and GT4 teams, giv­ing the lat­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties to pre­pare for grad­u­a­tion to the next level.

GT3 classes typ­i­cally pair pro­fes­sional driv­ers with am­a­teurs, but the Blancpain GT Series Asia will add a sep­a­rate GT3 cat­e­gory for ama­teur pairs, in ad­di­tion to GT4 ama­teur pair­ings. Con­firmed par­tic­i­pants in­clude Grup­peM Rac­ing from Hong Kong, Tai­wanese squad HubAuto, Malaysian com­pany EKS Mo­tor­sports, and CMRTeam by Eura­sia.

Two 60-minute races will be held for each of the com­pe­ti­tion’s six rounds, which are spread out from April to Oc­to­ber. Af­ter the ini­tial race in Sepang, the series will con­tinue in Thai­land and Ja­pan, then move on to Shang­hai, and end in Zhe­jiang on 21st and 22nd Oc­to­ber. All 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia races are sched­uled to not clash with the Euro­pean edi­tion and the In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal GT Chal­lenge, as well as other rel­e­vant com­pe­ti­tions.

The 2017 Blancpain GT Series Asia edi­tion is the brain­child of Stéphane Ra­tel of SRO Mo­tor­sports Group and Paul Yao, founder of the Su­per­car Club Hong Kong. “Next year will see the in­tro­duc­tion of the GT4 Euro­pean Series South­ern Cup in Europe. We will ex­pand the Blancpain GT Sports Club and the In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal GT Chal­lenge will get a round in the United States,” says Ra­tel, who is keen to seg­re­gate GT3 and GT4 into sep­a­rate races in 2018.

Driv­ers race to win the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Brands Hatch cir­cuit in Kent, Eng­land

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