While sports car racing is a rarity on NZ racetracks that could change in the future with a recent announcement out of Europe. There’s been an important reconnection between the two superpowers of sports car motorsport, the ACO (which does Le Mans and its related Series) and the FIA (which does almost everything else). With these two juggernauts working together, GT Racing is on the verge of achieving a more global appeal.
The main GT racing series was once called the FIA GT Championship but was then split into the GT1 World Championship, GT3 European Championship and GT4 European Cup. From next year the classes are set to rejoin once again, with the announcement a replacement racing series – the new FIA GT World Championship.
Instead of having a variety of cars competing in different classes, the FIA is working to level the performance of existing cars to have them all racing for a single prize. As a result, organisers are expecting a much larger grid that will include a wide range of fine machinery. Teams will represent Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini and Nissan, which are all expected to continue on from the current GT1 series. There are also talks with Mercedes-Benz, Alpina and Chevrolet teams bring them into the new series.
The reworked racing series is expected to return to circuits across Europe, Asia and South America next season. But there are also discussions about taking the racing to new locations like North America, Australia and Russia. Could we see the new FIA GT World Championship come to Hampton Downs Motorsport Park? Probably not next year, but don’t rule it out.