SRO ANNOUNCES 2006 FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR CONCENTRATING ON EUROPE IN 2006 BEFORE GOING GLOBAL IN 2007
SRO, promoter of the FIA GT Championship, today announced the 2006 calendar, which will be submitted to the FIA World Motor Sport Council on March 22nd.
Further to requests from a number of teams to reduce the necessary running budget for this season, the FIA GT Championship has opted to concentrate on European rounds, before going global in 2007. SRO has also chosen circuits which are well-suited for GT racing, with event promoters dedicated to attracting and entertaining the public.
The 2006 FIA GT Championship will start off with the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy at Silverstone in early May, in a real festival of GT racing, the highlight of which will see the presentation of the historic Tourist Trophy itself to the overall winners, 101 years after it first took place. Later that month, teams and drivers will head east, to the Czech Republic and the magnificent Brno Automotodrom, for the seventh year in succession. This hilly circuit is a near guarantee of an exciting race.
In early July, the Championship heads north, to the Motorsport Arena in Oschersleben, Germany - a circuit which holds special significance to the FIA GT, having been the first international series to race there in 1998. A busy summer will start with the traditional high point of the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa; this legendary event is the leading GT-only long-distance race, and is much appreciated by the numerous spectators who flock to the challenging circuit every year. In August, SRO is very pleased to announce that the FIA GT Championship will be the first major international series to race at the Paul Ricard circuit since its outstanding renovation in 2001. It is now one of the most amazing circuits in the world, in a truly stunning location. In the heat of the summer, when the world flocks to the French Riviera, this will be an opportunity to present a very exclusive event, dedicated to GT and Supercar enthusiasts. The use of the 5.8 km configuration, with the unbroken length of the ‘Signal’ straight, will allow the powerful GT cars to reach close to their maximum speeds.
The Championship will remain in France in early September, heading north, when the FIA GT cars and drivers will make a welcome return to the beautiful circuit of Dijon, last visited back in 1998. This round will mark the 100th race in the history of the FIA GT Championship - a real cause for celebration ! A fortnight later, the Championship will return to another location last visted at the height of the old GT1 era : the Italian circuit of Mugello. Last visited in 1997, the track, nestled in the Tuscan countryside, is popular with teams, drivers and press alike.
This will be followed by the much-anticipated city circuit of Bucharest. The event has been postponed from its original April date to October 1st, in order for the ambitious project to be fully completed. Crowds of around 80,000 are expected for this unique race, on the track circumnavigating the impressive Parliamentary buildings in central Budapest. The FIA GT Championship last raced on a city circuit in 1997, in Helsinki, and this is a fitting return to the streets for its tenth season.
Returning to Italy in mid-October, the Championship will visit the recent circuit of Adria for its penultimate round of 2006. The circuit, with its innovative indoor paddock and floodlight track, has already hosted successful international meetings.
The grand finale will be held at the Dubai Autodrome in the United Arab Emirates, on November 17th. For the third visit to the popular track, we trust that the Championship will be as open and as exciting as it was in 2005.
Despite Dubai being the only overseas trip for 2006, the objective of the FIA GT Championship is still to go global in 2007.
Agreements already in place will see the season start in Interlagos in early March, with the Mil Milhas Brasil, continuing to China to visit a re-homologated and upgraded Zhuhai circuit. This event, originally planned for late 2006, has been postponed in order to balance the large number of international motorsport events currently held in China at the end of the year.
The 2007 season will then head back to Europe for the now traditional Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy at Silverstone. Dubai will remain the Middle Eastern round, while SRO is actively working on an event in Australia to complete this world-wide calendar.