The French FFSA GT Championship as well as the brand new French FFSA Prototypes Championship will both kick off in Nogaro in late March when the 2016 edition of the GT Tour opens with the Easter Cups.
Five rounds will then follow: Lédenon, Magny-Cours, Le Mans, Imola and the Paul Ricard, with a few changes to the programme. Here is an overview of these new aspects just as the contenders are actively engaged in preparing the upcoming season.
Each round will take place over two and a half days. For the GT and Prototypes Championships, the competition format itself will evolve. Last year each round comprised two 90-minute races, except for the weekend in Le Mans which included three 60-minute races. In 2016 the duration of the races will vary. Three rounds – Lédenon, Magny-Cours and the Paul Ricard – will be organized around a 165-minute race (2h45) on Saturday and a 90-minute race on Sunday. As for the three other rounds – Nogaro, Le Mans and Imola – a 120-minute race on Saturday will be followed by a 90-minute race on Sunday. These new formats meet the request for more race time each weekend. While the contenders will get to drive more on each round, the overall time spent on track throughout the season will remain similar to that of last year. The contenders will benefit from 135 minutes of free practice, spread over two sessions, while the qualifying will comprise three 15-minute sessions, that is to say one session per driver.
Moreover, regarding the sporting aspect, lineups of two or three drivers will be allowed. The teams will have the choice, being granted more flexibility. Drivers’ lineups compositions will evolve too as it will be possible this year to enter a gold-silver-bronze trio or a gold-bronze duo. The two mandatory pit stops for refueling and driver change will still be in place. So will be the success penalty system with time penalties given according to the preceding race’s results.
One main new feature is the introduction of bonuses as part of the French FFSA GT and Prototypes Championships. A total of 50,000€ will be distributed throughout the season as bonuses, 10,000€ of which will be awarded to the best junior drivers. Moreover a set of tyres will be offered for each year entry, the fee of which is identical to that of last year and costs the same amount for both French Championships. As for the Open Challenge entry, it will remain unchanged too.