Competitors ‘Guiding’ Development of SRO’s Newest Series

Photo: GTWC Australia

A vision for the future of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS is being closely guided by competitors as well as category management.

Stephane Ratel’s newest acquisition, a joint venture to run Australian GT alongside the Australian Racing Group, is already one round in, with many eyes on the season-opener at Phillip Island.

While the Australian arm of GTWC got off to a “successful” start, with a healthy 20-car grid, category manager Ken Collier says improvements are already being looked at.

The nature of Australia’s travel restrictions means SRO are unable to have feet on the ground at a critical point for the series, however, the close relationship with ARG is “working well”.

“What we will be doing is talking to the teams halfway through the year just to get their impression on what should be done for 2022,” Collier told Sportscar365.

“There may be some interest in doing more endurance events for example.

“We’ll just keep talking to the teams and we should go back to the original idea of five sprint rounds with the possibility of adjusting the endurance rounds as well.

“Really it’s up to the teams to guide those decisions and we’ll just take it from there.”

When asked what is at the top of his agenda for GTWC Australia, Collier answered: “I just want the field to be consistently around that 20-25 mark.”

“And absolutely provide each round as a great experience for the people that are participating — that is my number one focus, and always has been when I’ve been with GT, to be honest.”

The strength of the Trophy class is “ absolutely vital” to the series, which allows older generation GT3 machinery to compete, such as the Reiter Camaro and numerous Audi R8 LMS ultras seen at Phillip Island.

Sportscar365 understands that SRO gave specific permission to feature the Trophy class, which made up more than half the field in the opening round.

“There’s plenty of GT cars in the country; there are not so many new GT cars in the country and that needs to be respected in the fact that the field for the Trophy series is very strong,” said Collier.

“I don’t think it would be anywhere as successful without those Trophy cars,” he added of the importance.

New Cars Heading to Australia

At least three current-spec GT3 cars are bound for Australia and expected to wash up in GTWC in the coming 12 months.

They will join the Championship class, already featuring a handful of Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos from Melbourne Performance Centre, Triple Eight’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo as well as Grove Motorsport’s Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“There are more new cars coming in this year, so that will increase the interest in that Championship class,” explained Collier.

“I think it’s a matter of having good racing, good regulations, consistency and that will all come about after the first couple of rounds have bedded in,” he commented, when asked what can be done to encourage more GT cars to come out of hiding.

“Being able to provide a product that the customer really is attracted to.

“We will continue to strive towards having those things I already mentioned and encourage individuals to come back to the race track.

“There are no financial incentives as such but that’s the nature of the sport and we need to recognize that for many drivers and car owners it is not their profession, it’s their hobby and passion and remain conscious of that always.”

GTWC Asia Cross-Over on The Table

Ongoing travel restrictions continue to hinder global platforms, however, that doesn’t prevent ideas from being brain-stormed.

Collier said he’s eager to have a cross-over with the other GTWC series when feasible, especially its Asian counterpart.

“Another thing we would like to develop in the future when possible is the inclusion of international drivers and teams into GT World Challenge Australia,” he said.

“That would be a great thing.

“Of course, it’s actually not possible at the moment because of travel restrictions, however, I think there is a good opportunity for us to take GT World Challenge Australia into Asia and for the Asians to come here as well.”

The idea of a ‘World Challenge’ type event for all of SRO’s continental series was also suggested.

“The overall desire is that at some point in the future and in future years that there would be inclusions from essentially all of those competitions to be merged at an event somewhere.”

Round 2 of GTWC Australia takes place at Bathurst on April 2-4.

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