As was announced at the end of the 2017 season, the SRO Motorsports Group wishes to slow the increasing professionalisation of the Blancpain GT Series, where the average number of Pro cars increased from 11 in 2011 to 32 in 2017. In order to do so, the following sporting evolutions will be taken for the 2018 season.
As recently announced, in order to make the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup more appealing for non-professional drivers, the maximum number of cars with a full Pro line-up has been limited to 26. Exceptions will be made for the Total 24 Hours of Spa, not only a round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup but also of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Driver pairings in the Pro-Am Cup of the endurance races will be solely made out of two Bronze and one professional driver. However, the possible derogation’s for two-driver line-ups will remain applicable, although the driving time for the Pro driver has been slightly reduced. For Spa, the line-up will be Platinum/Platinum/Bronze/Bronze. The pairing rules for the Am Cup will remain identical, with three Bronze drivers and an additional driver who may be Silver for Spa. Sprint line-ups will not change, with the maximum being Bronze/Platinum in Pro-Am and Bronze/Bronze in Am.
In order for each driver to be guaranteed to play a role in qualifying for the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup races, the starting grid will be determined by the average of the times of all drivers sharing a car. This will also apply for the Total 24 Hours of Spa. For cars with two drivers, one of the drivers will race in two sessions. Each driver will have a designated new set of tyres for their 15-minute qualifying session.
In the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, a more traditional GT3 format will be adopted. Driver 1 will take part in Qualifying 1, which will set the grid for Race 1, which they will start. Driver 2 will take part in Qualifying 2 to set the grid for Race 2, which he or she will start. Both races will score equal points, which will be reduced in order to maintain the balance between Sprint and Endurance Cups. In qualifying, points will be given to the team and drivers on pole in both races.
The Silver Cup, reserved for cars with all-Silver driver line-ups will be extended to the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. Cars with a Silver/Silver/Bronze line-up will be allowed to race in the Silver Cup should they wish. For Spa, a fourth Silver driver may be added. An Overall title will also be awarded.
To help in incidents and to emphasize safety, a driver-facing camera will be adopted in all races. Further improvements will include the introduction of GPS in the cars and lifting bars to aid in recovery.
The Prize Fund is expanded to the Silver Cup and in collaboration with partner TM Performance an innovative Accident Compensation Fund is implemented. This brings the total amount of money for distribution to the teams to well over two million euros.
The 2018 season of the Blancpain GT Series starts with the Official Test Days at Circuit Paul Ricard on March 13-14. The Belgian circuit of Zolder will host the first race meeting of the new season, on April 6-8.
Source. SRO Motorsports Group/Photo. John Patterson
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