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Race at Spa celebrates 30 years of mighty GTs

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SRO, the organizer behind the Blancpain GT series, will hold a special race at Spa this summer to celebrate 30 years of modern-era GT racing.

It’s easy to forget that in the 1980s, international motorsport efforts concentrated on F1, Group C and touring car races. Apart from a dying breed of Group 5 initiatives in the early eighties, there were no initiatives to get an international GT series up and running.

Photo BMW Group

Birth of BPR

In 1992, now 30 years ago, Frenchman Stéphane Ratel organised his first race, a one-make series for the obscure French sportscar brand Venturi. One year later, Ratel and his countryman Patrick Peter held a GT race at Paul Ricard in France for other GTs as well. In 1994, Porsche customer racing manager Jürgen Barth stepped in, and the newly-formed trio created the BPR Endurance series, exclusively held for GTs like the McLaren F1, the Ferrari F40, the Lotus Esprit and of course the Porsche 993 GT2 (you can read all about the GT2 in issue 2 of Tazio). Typically, the cars you encounter in Endurance Racing Legends these days.

Photo Mercedes

On to FIA GT

BPR was an instant hit, especially as there was a gap to fill in international endurance racing with the demise of Group C. The BPR series went international quickly, and became the FIA GT world championship. In the GT1 class, we saw the Porsche 911 GT1, the Mercedes CLK GTR and the Panoz Esperante, whilst in GT2 the Dodge/Chrysler Viper took over from Porsche. Subsequently, Stéphane Ratel started his SRO Group and took over GT racing worldwide as the GT3 category proved essential in providing customers with easy to race and powerful GTs. A beneficial situation for both brands and GT teams, which has led to the popular GT racing series that we see all over the world to this day.

Photo Newspress

Parade

To celebrate the 30 years of the first steps in modern GT racing, SRO is planning a historic race to be held before the 24 Hours of Spa, Belgium in July (28-31 July). Two sixty-minute races are scheduled for historic GTs that have been part of the BPR/FIA GT/SRO legend. The historic GTs will also take part in the traditional parade from the town of Spa to the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. SRO organises the GT Anniversary 2022 together with Patrick Peter’s Peter Auto.

See Also

Photo Archive JoD

Eligible cars have participated in one of the following races/series:

  • BPR Global GT Series (1994 – 1996)
  • 12 Hours of Sebring (1994 – 2010)
  • 24 Hours of Daytona (1994 – 2010)
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans (1994 – 2010)
  • FIA GT (1997 – 2009)
  • American Le Mans Series (1999 – 2010)
  • LMES (2001, 2003 – 2005)
  • FIA GT3 European Championship (2006 – 2010)
  • Le Mans Series (2006 – 2010)

There is a GT1A class (1994 – 1998), GT1B (1999 – 2010), GT2A (94 – 98), GT2B (99 – 05), GT2C (06 – 10) and finally a GT3 class (06 – 10).

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