Scott Bove and Stephane Ratel to host press conference in St. Petersburg.
When the press release circulated a few days ago, speculation was rampant:
“A worldwide motorsports announcement will take place this Friday, March 27, at 2 p.m. EDT in the Mahaffey Theatre, inside the race circuit of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Racing officials from several international sanctioning bodies will make a special presentation to media members, manufacturers, sponsors, race teams and drivers to announce a 2016 racing event in North America. Speakers from around the world will be part of the presentation with interviews following the announcement.”
IndyCar in Boston? The FIA World Endurance Championship adds a second date in the U.S.? Formula One in Las Vegas? Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the World Demolition Derby Championship?
Given the venue and the timing, the best guess was that the Pirelli World Challenge was pairing up in some way with the Blancpain GT Series, and that appears to be what is happening, with the additional revelation that the press conference will feature Scott Bove, who heads the Pirelli World Challenge, and Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group, which bills itself as the “architect of modern GT racing.”
His latest creation: The Blancpain GT Series, which combined the existing Blancpain Endurance Series with the former FIA GT sprint series into a single entity. Within the GT Series is an Endurance Series, and a Sprint series, which is two one-hour races in a weekend.
Blancpain (for you Timex fans, it’s an ultra-premium watch that dates back to 1735, and is currently owned by Swatch, which dates back to 1983) is the primary sponsor of the Blancpain Endurance Series, which will start its fifth season next month at Monza. More than 50 entries are confirmed for the full season, with manufacturers that include Audi, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Nissan and Porsche. There are three classes.
On track, the PWC and Blancpain series look quite similar, sharing some cars and drivers, and it appears that sharing will be greater in 2016, though apparently there will also be some level of formal crossover this season, too, and there is at least one European announcement to be made Friday as well.
We have our guesses about what exactly will happen, but since the announcement is tomorrow, there’s no point in speculation. We’ll know soon enough.