Following two seasons that surpassed all expectations, Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia’s format and regulations – originally based around the British GT Championship’s - will remain largely unchanged in 2019, albeit with one key difference.
The series brings together a mix of GT3 and GT4 machinery, while GTC cars are also eligible to compete at the 12 hour-long races spread across six events and five countries that comprise 2019’s calendar.
Cars feature a maximum of two drivers, each of whom qualifies for and then starts one of the weekend’s two races. They must then swap places with their co-driver during the mandatory pitstop window, which lasts 10 minutes.
Two types of driver pairings compete for outright victories: the mix of a professional and amateur (Pro/Am) and two professionals graded no higher than Silver by the FIA (Silver Cup). The latter will be subject to performance adjustments and approval by SRO to ensure that both Pro/Am and Silver/Silver crews are capable of winning races outright.
Am/Am pairings can also fight for class honours within GT3, while only amateur drivers are eligible to compete in GT4.
SRO’s wish to develop local drivers has resulted in a new regulation that mandates at least one Asian driver per GT3 Pro/Am and Silver Cup pairing. Only drivers from Asia, Australia and New Zealand are eligible to contest GT3 Am and GT4.
Pitstop success penalties are applied at all races to prevent any single crew from dominating. In 2019 the top-three finishers from the previous race must respectively serve an additional 15, 10 or 5 seconds on top of the mandated minimum pitstop time.
Just like all SRO championships, Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia benefits from the organisation’s world-renowned Balance of Performance (BoP) regulations. These ensure that a car’s natural attributes or shortcomings are not the determining factors in overall results.
But SRO’s BoP is just the start. It’s expertise extends into Race Control, stewarding, scrutineering, management and regulatory matters, all of which combine to deliver an accountable and trustworthy GT racing environment.
Points are awarded to the top-10 finishers overall and in class:
- 1. 25pts - 2. 18pts - 3. 15pts - 4. 12pts - 5. 10pts - 6. 8pts - 7. 6pts - 8. 4pts - 9. 2pts - 10. 1pt
Just like all of the championships SRO Motorsports Group promotes, Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia is reserved for one of two supercar racing specifications: GT3 and GT4.
Following the demise of GT1 and GT2, GT3 regulations now govern GT racing’s premier and most popular customer motorsport platform.
Almost 20 different manufacturers currently produce and race or sell GT3 cars around the world. They are built to a common set of regulations and, under SRO’s strict Balance of Performance (BoP) governance, compete on a level playing field. This encourages greater competition, more exciting racing and diversity while also preventing a costly development war from erupting between manufacturers.
GT3 cars are based on their road-going supercar counterparts and must carry over certain features to meet homologation criteria. However, they are also very different, with large front splitters, rear spoilers and diffusers, aerodynamically enhanced bodywork, race-tuned engines developing up to 600bhp and sticky slick Pirelli tyres marking them out as genuine racing cars.
Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia’s GT4 class - which is now officially known as GT4 Asia - features cars that, in terms of performance and looks, are much closer to their road-going versions than GT3.
Rules state that more components must be carried over from their production counterparts, while manufacturers are given less freedom to tune and develop them. Splitters, diffusers and wings are still commonplace but produce much lower downforce and grip levels than GT3.
Nevertheless, they have proven extremely popular in Europe and America where they compete in multi-class championships alongside GT3, just as they do in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia.
Just like GT3, all GT4 cars are governed by SRO’s Balance of Performance regulations.