GT1 World: Pirelli and Ferrari join the series

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The build-up to the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship season gathered momentum today with two significant announcements.

Stephane Ratel, Founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group, confirmed that negotiations had been on-going on several fronts over the past few months and SRO was now in a position to begin announcing a number of key developments prior to the opening event in Nogaro on 9 April.

The first of those announcements is the confirmation of Pirelli as the official tyre supplier for the FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship in 2012.

In confirming Pirelli’s involvement, Ratel said: “We are delighted to confirm a partnership with Pirelli as the official tyre supplier for the FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship for the 2012 season.

“Pirelli have an unrivalled reputation in global motorsport and we are pleased that our teams in both GT1 and GT3 will benefit from the technical expertise and experience the company brings. Their recent success in helping to create competitive racing in Formula One through their innovative approach underlines that point.”

Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said the company was looking forward to linking up with the FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship for the coming season.

“We have a long and rich history in all categories of motorsport, particularly GT racing,” he said. “GT racing is an important segment for us as a number of our customers drive the vehicles which compete in the GT categories, particularly our premium customers so the relationship makes a lot of sense.

“Even though we are involved in Formula One, we have also had a major involvement in a number of other categories of motorsport for over 100 years.”

The line-up of supercar brands for the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship has been bolstered by the confirmation that Ferrari will join the grid.

The identity of the team running the pair of Ferrari 458 Italias will be officially revealed later this week.

Ferrari joins Audi (Team WRT), BMW (Vita4One), McLaren (Hexis) and Mercedes (All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport) in an impressive line-up for the 2012 season. Additional teams are poised to announce their participation in the near future.

Such a diversity of prestigious brands in a single category makes the FIA GT1 World Championship unique in international motorsport.

“The addition of Ferrari to the 2012 line-up makes for a mouth-watering array of supercars racing in one world championship,” Ratel said. “The Ferrari team brings to five the number of confirmed teams and we are in advanced talks with a number of other teams. For reasons of confidentiality, we are respecting the wishes of those teams to announce their participation in their own time.”

The final deadline for entries is next month, as per the decision laid down by the FIA GT Commission in November, 2011.

The venue for the 10th race on the 2012 calendar will be revealed in the coming days along with further team announcements.

Meanwhile, the opening date for entries for the FIA GT3 European Championship is 15 February.

14 Comments on GT1 World: Pirelli and Ferrari join the series

  1. @William That makes 10 doesn’t it? I’m sure somehow Ratel will still manage to find 6 or 8 more, but he’s just delaying the ultimate demise of the championship.

  2. It doesn’t look too good and I for one don’t like the idea of putting the GT1 World and GT3 Europe grids together, if it comes to that. That’ll harm the European Championship runners and will not solve the problem for overseas races. Still, if Nissan, Young Driver and Marc VDS hadn’t decided to pull out, we’d be in a pretty interesting situation. Hoping for miracles from the likes of Lambo, Camaro, Aston, Nissan etc to get the grid full!

  3. Until now Ratel has 12 cars: 2 McLaren (Hexis), 2 Mercedes (Münnich), 2 BMW (Vita4One), 2 Ferrari (AF Corse?), 2 Audi (WRT).
    We will only see 2 Nissan and 2 Lamborghini, if JRM and Reiter are given a budget by somebody to finance a season with their existing cars. Same for Callaway with their Corvettes. 2 Aston Martin is unlikely after the announcements of AMR entering both WEC and ADAC GT Masters. But maybe Ratel has some surprises left?

  4. He’ll make it, there is even a team who wants to come ( back ) and drive…..Porsche’s. Other posibilities : Nissan, Corvette, Aston Martin, Alpina, Lamborghini. He needs 16 cars, 16 – 10 = 6 cars. 3 brands out of the 6 above…
    Possible. By the way, Ratel expects 18 cars!!!! The fact that Ferrari and McLaren wanted to fight each other in another championship besides F1 and they choose GT1 World instead of WEC says a lot…. When the Porsche’s are confirmed, i think hell will brake loose and others will follow soon, very soon…..

  5. Well to be fair Ferrari can race anywhere with the 458, whereas the McLaren can’t compete in the WEC because it doesn’t meet the ACO regs. Both Porsche and Ferrari are in the WEC along with Corvette so that clearly is the stronger of the two GT series. Ratel has probably just pulled the last rabbit out of his seemly endless hat of miracles.

  6. @HD: What you are saying sounds really cool, but in reality it’s not about the manufacturers choosing whether to do GT World or not. It’s about private teams struggling for funds to do it and it doesn’t change the situation for teams like SRT or Callaway or Reiter if Porsche decides to join in. Unfortunately.

  7. If FIA GT1 was a small grid of CLK-GTR’s, GT-ONE’s and 911 GT1’s, or even MC12’s, Viper GTS-R’s and C6.R’s, I could understand Ratel’s desire to keep the series going.

    Given the series is now for GT3, and Ratel has a fantastic Blancpain series on his books, I don’t see why he is sticking with the ‘GT1’ series. Blancpain is the spiritual successor to BPR GT, I’d like to see Ratel putting all his efforts into promoting the series, even more so now ACO series are moving to prototype dominated grids.

  8. If FIA GT1 had CLK-GTRs, GT-Ones, 911 GT1s and the like now, then it would be my favorite race series but a huge margin…

  9. @Michael Almaguer. Wrong answer. Why doesn’t MC Laren meet the ACO-regs? Because, they don’t want to… ACO-regs??It’s an FIA WEC, so you should mention FIA-regs. What’s the reason that Corvette-Pro and BMW-PRO are only racing in ALMS? Because they don’t meet the FIA-regs… The only race which is driven under ACO-regs is the 24 hours of Le Mans. Your reaction is emotional…

    @Greg. In theory, this is correct, but for instance, everybody knows WRT has factory-backing, Young Drivers did have factory backing, aso. On the other hand, i think Ratel is helping teams to find the budgets. Who will do this job for WEC-teams next year, when they know it’s far too expensive? ACO?? Don’t think so… They think nothing can happen to them… Whishfull thinking, i don’t believe in WEC…

    @JAG. SRO is promotor of about 15 (!!!!) series. Why giving up a strong link with FIA, so that the competition ( Jesus Pareja ( GT-OPEN )) can walk away with all the work you’ve been doïng the past 15-20 years… SRO is maybe the biggest Motorsports Group with a lot of employees ( did yoy know they’ve also alwats done all the administration of the (E)LMS??? ). So, don’t worry about BEC, they’ll make time for this…

  10. @JAG: I agree with you that Ratel should promote Blancpain more. It’s a healthy series and will have a great grid this year. Now the series need to raise its profile and attract media and spectator, not just race fans and teams.

    @HD: Yeah, you’re right and we could add BMW supporting Vita4One etc but essentially in all these cases the factory support is limited to technical stuff and engineering and it’s up to these privateer teams to foot the bill. I was surprised by the healthy grid the WEC attracted and I’ll be happy to follow its 1st season, but I also think that it is too expensive in the long run.

    Shortly put, both GT1 World and WEC grids are filled with privateers and they should get financial support from the organizers. It’s wrong of the ACO/FIA/SRO to play gods and let the wealthy team owners or gentleman racers pay for filling their pockets. At some point, they will realize it’s just crazy and go elsewhere.

  11. Eh, all the nonsense has started again, doesn’t this ever stop? More live tv in the ALMS and still complaints. Series Sponsor for FIA GT1 and still complaints!

    Some of you need to get out more, get laid or something.

  12. @Greg, organisors provide travel support then it’s upto teams to find budgets, that’s how it works for all but directly funded factory teams all the way upto F1. Given the WEC travels to major markets around the word and includes Le Mans, potential sponsorship opportunities are greater as are the number of funded drivers. Last week it was stated Starworks had a sponsor on the phone with a six figure deal shortly after being confirmed in the WEC/Le Mans, something that may not have happened if competing in the ALMS/ELMS. JRM also stated greater sponsorship opportunities was a deciding factor in going to the WEC, sponsors who were willing to pay more to be represented in P1.

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