On what has been a quite extraordinary day the latest contribution comes from Stephane ratel, as most of the teams for the 2020 GT World Challenge Europe gather at Paul Ricard for the 2-day pre-season test (today and tomorrow), Ratel took the time to talk about the contingency planning already in place to maintain a full calendar, despite the current challenges
GT World Challenge Europe grids
“It should not be forgotten that, after nine fantastic years with Blancpain, we first faced the challenge of creating a new identity. With that being the case, it has been fantastic to see that the new name has been fully embraced by the motorsport community. We are absolutely delighted to have AWS as presenting partner, complemented by our new timing partner Rebellion and by a renewed global fuel partnership with Total. Overall, we are stronger than ever and that is a great satisfaction.
“This season we have growing grids in both Endurance and Sprint. This is a sign that GT racing, in general, is healthy and that SRO, in particular, is well placed to face the very difficult situation that motorsport is currently in. If you already have struggling grids and then have to face this you are in trouble, but we are starting from a strong position. We have raised the maximum number of cars admitted in Sprint from 28 cars to 33 as a provision for a potential reduction in the number of entries due to the current uncertainty, both economic and due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reacting to COVID-19
“We have worked to anticipate everything as early as possible. That is why we announced that we had made provisions should Monza be cancelled. When that became the case, we put our plan into action. Now we are making provisions for cancellations until June and we already have a plan in place to guarantee – to absolutely guarantee – that we will deliver a 10-round championship. That is what this exceptional grid fully deserves.”
“One option is to maintain the current calendar and temporarily run without spectators until it is safe to do so. However, as we have up to 2,500 people working at a normal Endurance event it will come down to any restrictions imposed by the public authorities. Another option is to put a calendar in place that runs 10 events beginning in June. In all cases, our teams should know that their business is secure with a full calendar for the season.”
Other SRO series
“Globally, the SRO policy is to follow the FIA’s recommendations. We will respect the instructions of public authorities and we will cancel events if drivers are prohibited from entering a country where the event is scheduled to take place. We are working on contingency plans for Asia and America should all events be cancelled until June. The same is true of the French and British championships. For now, we will see how things progress.”