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FIA GT1: Revamped 2012 season plans take shape

Stephane Ratel, CEO of SRO, has announced plans for the 2012 GT World project - which will feature an array of new teams and iconic brands.
Under the revised GT World format there will be between nine and 11 two-car,  single-brand teams racing in the global series.
Ferrari, Audi and BMW are amongst seven brands that have already confirmed their entry to compete in the 2012 series, alongside current GT1 brands.
The seven teams confirmed are Young Driver AMR (Aston Martin), Team WRT (Audi), Marc VDS (BMW), Vita4One Racing (Ferrari), Belgian Racing (Ford), Münnich Motorsport (Lamborghini) and JRM Motorsport (Nissan).
Additionally, talks are advanced with teams to run Mercedes, Corvette and Alpina entries. 
Ratel made the announcement prior to the start of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series.
“We are fully in line with our declared objective to have nine, 10 teams – 11 in an ideal world – representing nine, 10, 11, different makes in the ultimate GT world championship,” Ratel said.
“To welcome Audi, BMW and Ferrari cars in addition to the brands we had already - Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, Lamborghini, Nissan - is a major achievement. We are convinced that other teams around the world will recognise the potential of this unique opportunity to become the exclusive representative of a given brand in an exciting and truly global series for GT cars.
“This has been a joint effort between SRO as the promoter and the teams who are fully committed to making this championship a success. The 2012 concept will be an evolution of the current FIA GT1 World Championship building on the qualified success of the exciting one-hour sprint format. We are all in agreement about this.
“In the defined schedule of events, we need first to finalise the grid. We are 75 per cent of the way there and we are very confident that we will finalise it by early September. We will then have a full month to confirm dates with the many contacts we have around the world for the 2012 calendar and to be active in the sponsorship and broadcasting market in November/December.”
In reference to the calendar for 2012, Ratel said: “A number of our 2011 events will continue, but to further underline the global status of the championship we need to expand into other territories like we have done with China in 2011.
“Europe Argentina, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates will be on the 2012 calendar. We have had very good discussions on four corners of the globe including Australasia, North America and Russia.
“The FIA GT1 World Championship has proven its ability to provide teams and sponsors with global reach and the capacity to provide teams with total support – financial and logistical – on overseas events.”
The timeline for the 2012 season has been established by SRO and the teams, with the grid to be finalized by early September and the calendar released in October.
As for the remainder of the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship, Ratel confirmed that the intention was to have two races in China in September. Besides the race weekend in Ordos on September 3-4, plans for a race at Goldenport in Beijing was close to being finalised.
“We are all set now for a second race in China which is only pending an FIA homologation of the Goldenport Circuit which will take place next week,” he said.
The 2011 season will conclude at San Luis in Argentina 5-6 November with a further update on the 2012 season around the time of the 2011 Chinese events.


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