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#GT4SERIES – Exciting grid promises thrilling Bahrain showdown for GT4 International Cup

An exciting line-up of teams and drivers feature on the provisional entry list for the inaugural GT4 International Cup, which comprises 21 competitors representing 10 different manufacturers.

Set to run as part of the Bapco Bahrain GT Festival (30 November-1 December), the season-ending event has drawn entrants from across the globe to conclude a hugely successful year of GT4 competition.

The provisional entry list features Pro-Am, Silver Cup and Am representation, with multiple race and title-winners among those signed up to compete. Driver pairings for the event include old and new partnerships, as well as a father-son duo and a husband and wife crew.

They will be among the protagonists seeking to capture the inaugural GT4 International Cup. Staged at the world-renowned Bahrain International Circuit, competitors will tackle two 60-minute qualifying races and a deciding 60-minute finale, which will take place under the lights at the Gulf venue.

The CMR squad will field two of its Alpine A110 GT4 machines in Bahrain. The French outfit has enjoyed domestic and international success this season, winning races in the GT4 European Series and Championnat de France FFSA GT – GT4 France. Drivers for the Alpines will be announced in the coming weeks.

Generation AMR SuperRacing will launch an all-British assault on the International Cup. The Banbury-based effort, which has campaigned GT4 machinery at home and abroad in recent years, will field James Holder and Matthew George in a Pro-Am effort.

A pair of championship-winning teams will run the Audi R8 LMS GT4 in Bahrain. Phoenix Racing enjoyed an excellent GT4 European Series campaign as Milan Dontje and Nicolaj Møller Madsen captured the drivers’ title with the German squad. The successful duo will reunite to bid for further glory in the Gulf, while Gosia Rdest will be joined by a final Phoenix driver in the sister machine.

Sainteloc Racing has confirmed that an all-French line-up will lead its two-car entry, with both aiming for Pro-Am honours. In the #41 R8 LMS GT4 Michael Blanchemain will pair up with Steven Palette, while the #42 machine will see Championnat de France FFSA GT – GT4 France champions Fabien Michal and Gregory Guilvert resume their successful partnership.

A quartet of BMW M4 GT4 entries will compete in Bahrain. Two will carry the colours of 3Y Technology, which competed extensively in France and Europe throughout 2018.

The third will see Daren E. Jorgensen and Brett Strom pair up for an assault on the Am class. This all-American effort will run under the RHC Jorgensen/Strom by MarcCars banner, with Jorgensen bringing recent GT4 experience from his outings in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS category.

Finally, BMW Team France by Ekris Motorsport will field its own EKRIS M4 GT4 in the Silver Cup category, with European regulars Julien Piguet and Ricardo van der Ende sharing driving duties.

Primus Racing will field its Ginetta G55 GT4 for Johan Rosen and Peter Larsen. The same combination of team, car and drivers made a one-off appearance in the GT4 European Series this term, tackling the event that ran as part of Spa Speedweek. The Scandinavian duo will compete for Am honours in Bahrain.

The Las Moras Racing squad will also be targeting Am class success with its McLaren 570S GT4. The car will be driven by husband and wife duo Luc and Liesette Braams, both familiar competitors in the GT4 European Series.

Another established European contender – and a fellow adherent to the McLaren 570S – is Academy Motorsport. GT4 European Series front-runner Finlay Hutchison will pair with fellow British racer Matt Nicoll-Jones to compete for Silver Cup honours.

The distinctive KTM X-Bow will take tackle the Bahrain International circuit thanks to Razoon – More Than Racing. The Austrian squad will run a Pro-Am effort for compatriots Constantin Scholl and Reinhard Kofler. Silver-graded Kofler closed the 2018 GT4 European Series with a pair of podium finishes to his name.

Scuderia Villorba Corse will take its Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 to the Gulf venue. The Italian squad will field father-son duo Piotr and Antoni Chodzen, whose GT4 experience includes the European Series and Central European Cup.

A trio of squads will place their trust in the Mercedes-AMG GT4. European regular Bullitt Racing will field its established crew of Stephen Pattrick and Andy Meyrick, who will contend for Pro-Am honours. Just Racing will be targeting success in the Am category, with Mats Ek Tidstrand and Erik Behrens piloting the Swedish squad’s effort.

The final member of the Mercedes-AMG camp is accomplished French outfit AKKA ASP, which will field a Silver Cup entry for Tomas Drouet and a second to-be-confirmed driver. Jerome Policand’s squad enjoyed a race-winning Championnat de France FFSA GT – GT4 France season in 2018, while also taking multiple GT3 titles in the Blancpain GT Series.

The 21-car field is completed by a brace of Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR entries. The Policaro/SportsCarBoutique squad will ensure that, like its neighbour to the south, Canada is represented at the GT4 International Cup.

On the driver front the experienced Andrew Danyliw, a veteran of the Blancpain GT Series and Pirelli World Challenge, will be joined by Ethan Simioni, who is contesting his first season in cars after graduating from karting at the end of 2017.

Finally, French outfit TFT SO24 will run a Porsche Caymen GT4 for Niki Leutwiler, continuing a successful partnership that saw the Swiss capture the GT4 European Series Am title in 2018. He will be joined by Jan Kasperlik, who also comes with extensive experience from the GT4 European Series.

Further driver announcements will be made in the coming weeks as teams reveal their full line-ups for the Bahrain event. Those already confirmed suggest that a hugely competitive set of races is in store as an all-star grid battles for the inaugural GT4 International Cup.

Preparations will begin on Friday (30 November) with free practice sessions at 09.00 and 12.10 local time, followed by qualifying at 17.10. This will set the grids for Saturday’s qualifying races, which take place at 10.00 and 14.45.

The all-important main race will get underway at 17.45 on Saturday evening, one hour after the sun has set on the Bahrain International Circuit.

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SRO Motorsports Group, the architect of modern GT racing

Over the past 25 years SRO has specialised in the promotion and organisation of motorsport series around the world.

Inextricably linked with GT racing’s revival in the early 1990s, currently SRO predominantly promotes series that adhere to the successful GT3 and GT4 regulations. Indeed, these rules – a common framework allowing manufacturers, teams and drivers to compete equally with one another – have helped to establish SRO as the global leader in customer GT racing.

Today, SRO’s influence and organisation can be seen around the world. Its flagship continues to be the European-based Blancpain GT Series, which features both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Its annual highlight remains the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.

The same Pirelli tyres and Balance of Performance parameters governing the Blancpain GT Series have also been adopted in the United States by the Pirelli World Challenge (of which SRO is the controlling shareholder), while SRO expanded its successful platform East in 2017 by establishing Blancpain GT Series Asia.

In addition, the world’s best GT races from all four corners of the globe are brought together under the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The 2018 edition features four events – the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours, and the California 8 Hours of Laguna Seca.

SRO is also strong domestically. The multi-class British GT Championship, over which it has presided since 2005, pairs GT3 with GT4 machinery. The FFSA French GT Championship, for many years run by SRO, returned to the fold in 2017, and was added to the existing GT4 European Series. GT4’s incredibly successful first season in France provided SRO with the blueprint and confidence to expand the class’ European footprint further. A new regional series to support the flourishing GT4 class has been added in 2018: the GT4 Central European Cup.

In addition, SRO’s world-renowned Balance of Performance regulations are licensed by other series running GT3 and/or GT4 machinery, such as Super GT in Japan, the Australian GT Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and the VLN in Germany and the China GT Championship. SRO also works closely with the FIA when organising its prestigious Macau FIA GT World Cup race.

While Macau caters solely for professional teams and drivers, SRO also understands the important role amateurs play in GT racing’s global success and sustainability. That is why it operates the SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France – and Curbstone Track Events, which provide the ultimate track driving opportunities on world-renowned circuits. Many of its clients have subsequently graduated to the Blancpain GT Sports Club, the first competitive stepping stone towards gaining the confidence and racecraft required to compete in a Pro/Am environment.

SRO continues to focus on new initiatives that meet the demands of a fast-changing motorsport industry. In light of this, the organisation will launch the inaugural Bahrain GT Festival in November 2018, working in collaboration with the FIA and the Bahrain International Circuit.

This end-of-season event will feature two new standalone races: the FIA GT Nations Cup for GT3 cars, and the GT4 world final, the SRO GT4 International Cup. The Nations Cup will see drivers competing for international honour in the colours of their home countries, while the GT4 contest will bring together the global elite from this rapidly-growing category.

SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel and has offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong. Its dedicated team of full-time and freelance staff work with the support of numerous national sporting authorities and sanctioning bodies to offer teams, drivers and manufacturers the world’s best professional, Pro/Am and amateur GT racing platforms.