Ratel: Blancpain Sprint Cup not in danger with smaller grid

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Ratel: Blancpain Sprint Cup not in danger with smaller grid
By: Gary Watkins
Mar 14, 2018, 1:20 PM

The Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup is not in danger despite a dramatic fall in entries for 2018, championship boss Stephane Ratel has insisted.

#82 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3: Tom Dillmann, Rolf Ineichen
#84 AMG Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3: Franck Perera, Maximilian Bühk
#5 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS: Marcel Fassler, Dries Vanthoor
#27 Orange 1 Team Lazarus Lamborghini Huracan GT3: Nicolas Pohler, Fabrizio Crestani
Grid girl
Grid girls
#82 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3: Tom Dillmann, Rolf Ineichen

Just 20 cars have been registered for the full 2018 series, down from last year's 32-strong field.  

Ratel claimed that the series "was not in the danger zone" even though the entry has fallen for a second season in a row. 

"We have had two years up around the 35-car mark, but now the pendulum has swung the other way," he told Motorsport.com. 

"That's motor racing: we have seen it before and I am sure it will swing back. It is a smallish grid, but I don't think it puts the future of the championship in doubt."

Ratel indicated that his ideal grid size for the Sprint Cup is 24 cars and suggested that he would hit that target during the year with race-by-race entries after the season kicks off at Zolder early next month. 

A number of factors have resulted in the fall in entries, according to Ratel.

He suggested that grids of 30-plus cars were "probably unsustainable" because they meant "there were a lot more losers than winners". 

The open rules governing tyre changes had frightened off some smaller teams, he said, while the success of the Intercontinental GT Challenge had also been a factor. 

"It is a conjunction of reasons, which have meant we have lost a car here and a car there," he explained. 

Ratel expressed content with what he described as a "stable" Blancpain Endurance Cup entry. 

The full-season entry has shrunk slightly from 54 to 50 cars, but he said it was an inevitable consequence of the new-for-2018 26-car limit on entries in the pro class.

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About this article

Series Blancpain Sprint
Author Gary Watkins
Article type Breaking news