During the fourth weekend of June 1992, exactly 25 years ago, Stephane Ratel organised his first ever race, on the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans. It was the launch of the Gentleman Drivers Trophy, for the French sportscar manufacturer Venturi. Its runaway success ignited the revival of GT racing, which spread through the BPR Endurance Series, the Lamborghini Super Trophy, the FIA GT, GT3 European and GT1 World Championships, the Super Racing Weekends, the Le Mans Series and numerous national GT championships, to today’s success with the Blancpain GT and GT Sports Club series in Europe and in Asia, the US-based Pirelli World Challenge, the Total 24 Hours of Spa and the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the British and French GT Championships, the GT4 European Series and the many GT4 franchises around the globe.
To celebrate this silver jubilee, Stephane Ratel and the SRO Motorsports Group wish to bring together all those who have contributed to this twenty-five-year journey, which has made GT racing one of the world’s leading motorsport categories, at a spectacular event at the Palais Brongniart – the former Paris Stock Exchange – in the month of November.
Since 1995 SRO has specialised in the promotion and organisation of motorsport series. Inextricably linked with GT racing’s revival, SRO predominantly promotes categories that adhere to its successful GT3 and GT4 regulations. Indeed, these rules – a common framework allowing manufacturers, teams and drivers to compete equally with one another – has helped establish SRO as the global leader in customer GT racing.
Today, SRO’s influence and organisation can be seen around the world. SRO’s flagship is the European-based Blancpain GT Series, which combines the Sprint and Endurance Cups, of which the iconic Total 24 Hours is the highlight.
The same regulations and Balance of Performance parameters governing the Blancpain GT Series have been adopted in the United States by the Pirelli World Challenge (in which SRO is also a major shareholder), while the inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia begins in 2017. In addition, the world’s best GT races from all four corners of the globe are brought together under the umbrella of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, and amateur drivers are also fully catered for via the Blancpain GT Sports Club.
Likewise, select European race weekends feature the GT1 Ultracar Sports Club where the world’s fastest and most technologically advanced limited-production road and track-only cars gather to demonstrate their awesome capabilities.
SRO is also strong domestically. The multi-class British GT Championship, which it has presided over since 2005, pairs GT3 with GT4 machinery, while France’s national series – now known as the GT4 European Series Southern Cup / FFSA French GT championship – was recently added to its existing Northern Cup counterpart.