SRO Motorsports Group, promoter of international and national Motorsport Championships in Europe and Brazil, has ventured into a new area with the signing of a three-year franchise agreement, giving Circuit Zandvoort, promoter of official series in the Netherlands, the right to run a ‘Dutch GT4 Championship’.
The new Championship was officially launched at Circuit Zandvoort on June 24th, with the presence of various GT4 cars, including an Aston Martin N24, a Corvette C6 and a Mustang FR500C
The Dutch GT4 Championship will have its inaugural season in 2009. It will include seven meetings, including a joint round with the GT4 European Cup during the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The other rounds will take place at the circuits of Zandvoort and Assen in the Netherlands, and at the Belgian circuit of Zolder. A tender will be run to choose the single tyre manufacturer. As a newly-created ‘SRO-approved series’, it will run according to the SRO-registered technical regulations and homologation procedures, as well as using the same balance of performance.
The GT4 category was launched in 2007, with the first season of the GT4 European Cup.
Designed as a true entry-level GT category, using cars close to their production models, and offering maximum track time and plenty of variety in terms of racing action for a lower budget, the series has grown steadily. In 2008, cars from the GT4 category have joined both the British and Belgian GT Championships running as a second category alongside the GT3 cars.
The performance of the different models competing – including the Aston Martin N24, BMW Z4 Coupé, Corvette C6, Ford Mustang and Nissan 350Z – has given closely-fought, spectacular sprint races, to the delight of drivers and spectators alike. More cars have been announced for the future, such as the new Lotus Exige GT4 developed by Lotus Cars.
“I am delighted to announce SRO’s first ‘franchise’ agreement,” commented Stephane Ratel, Chairman of SRO Motorsports Group. “I believe strongly in the potential of the GT4 category, which is a perfect place for teams and drivers to start a GT career, before moving up the ladder through the real success story which is GT3, all the way to the future GT1 World Championship. I am also delighted with this new relationship with the Netherlands, a country which has provided many of our most successful teams and drivers over the past decade. We are in contact with a number of other interested countries, and I hope this is the first of many such franchises.”
Erik Weijers, the Chief Operating Officer of the Circuit Park Zandvoort, was also delighted with the new franchise agreement. “This agreement with SRO to run a Dutch GT4 Championship is a milestone in the history of Dutch motor sport. We at Circuit Park Zandvoort, in our dual role as operators of the race track and as promoters of the series, are also very happy with this new challenge. It is very important for us to have a multi-brand championship to add to our existing portfolio of one-make series and promotional categories. We strongly believe in the future of the GT4 category. GT racing has seen a strong development in the past decade, mainly thanks to the efforts made by SRO, and we are glad to become part of this international movement.”