This weekend will see the inaugural round of the newly created Intercontinental GT Challenge. Organised by the Stephane Ratel Group, the first global GT3 Series has attracted major attention amongst teams and drivers.
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the Total 24 Hours of Spa and the Sepang 12 Hours are the three endurance classics that will decide the outcome of the championship. The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race was recreated in 2007, and has grown in popularity ever since.
To compete in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, manufacturers have to enter through the teams using their cars. At the end of the season there will be three titles: the Intercontinental GT Challenge overall title for Manufacturers, the Intercontinental GT Challenge overall title for Drivers (awarded to the driver with the most points, driving for a single manufacturer) and the Intercontinental GT Challenge AM title for Bronze drivers, who can drive for any manufacturer or combination of manufacturers.
A manufacturer may nominate a maximum of four cars to be counted towards the Intercontinental GT Challenge overall title at each of the races, but only the top two scoring cars of each manufacturer will count towards the Manufacturers’ title. All drivers in cars entered in the overall Intercontinental GT Challenge will score points towards the overall Drivers title.
In Bathurst, four manufacturers have entered cars for the Intercontinental GT Challenge: Audi, Bentley, McLaren and Mercedes. Audi is represented by two cars from the Melbourne Performance Center and one from Phoenix Racing. Bentley’s entry is formed by a two-car squad ran by Team M-Sport, whilst Mercedes will be represented by Mishumotors and Erebus Motorspor. McLaren squad Tekno Motorsports has entered two 650S.
All twelve cars have familiar names onboard, and there are several former Blancpain GT and Endurance Series Champions signed up to compete as part of the 37-car strong field.
“At SRO we are very proud to start the first global GT3 Series with the support of several of the biggest manufacturers on the motorsports planet and I am convinced that others will join us later in the season,” Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of the SRO Motorsports Group. “We have the firm intention to grow the Intercontinental GT Challenge to four events in 2017. I am very much looking forward to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and to see how some of the best GT drivers in the world will start a new chapter in the history of GT racing. I would like to take this opportunity to thank James Warburton, CEO V8 Supercars and John Casey, Event Director Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour for having made their event part of the Challenge.”