At a press conference ahead of this weekend’s opening rounds of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America at Circuit of The Americas, SRO Motorsports Group, Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG jointly announced that both manufacturers will be represented at all rounds of the full 18-event calendar and will be competing for the inaugural Blancpain GT World Challenge title.
“I’m delighted that Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG have confirmed their interest for the inaugural Blancpain GT World Challenge season,” said Stephane Ratel, founder and CEO of SRO Motorsports Group. “I’m convinced that the exciting competition during the year will encourage more manufacturers to compete on all three markets in 2020. The promising development of the entry lists on the three continents give us great confidence for the future of this new global series.”
As previously announced, each manufacturer may nominate four drivers competing in each of the three continental Challenges — the seven-round Blancpain GT World Challenge America, the six rounds of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia, and the five rounds of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe — to make up a team of 12 drivers who will score points toward each manufacturers’ score.
The four drivers competing for each brand on each continent, of whom three must hold a passport from those countries, must include at least one Bronze driver and a maximum of one Platinum driver. The drivers may compete in any of the GT3 categories, either sharing cars or racing for separate teams. The points they score will be multiplied by the number of cars competing in their category, to give a representative total over the season.
For the 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America, Ferrari will be represented by Toni Vilander (Platinum, Finland), Jeff Segal (Gold, USA), Martin Fuentes (Silver, Mexico) and Christopher Cagnazzi (Bronze, USA). Mercedes-AMG’s four drivers will be Maxi Buhk (Platinum, Germany), JC Perez (Silver, Colombia), David Askew (Bronze, USA) and George Kurtz (Bronze, USA).
The drivers for the other continents will be announced in due course.
“I believe that over the past few years, SRO has worked very well to create a world-class platform for the GT3 category, which is one of the key elements of Ferrari strategy,” said Antonello Coletta, head of Ferrari Attivita Sportive GT. “Ferrari has always been able to count on owners who race on all continents and it was therefore natural to involve some of them in the Blancpain GT World Challenge project. We are aware that we will be up against some very strong opposition, but we know we have customers, teams and drivers who are prepared to fight for the very best results.”
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing, added: “I do like the idea to have Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing drivers from three continents to score points for the manufacturers’ trophy a lot. What can be more exciting than a fair and worldwide competition with an iconic brand like Ferrari?”