A History of Racing Excellence
With three decades’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established global leader in GT racing. The company is chaired by its founder and CEO, Stéphane Ratel, who ranks among the leading decision-makers in international motorsport. With offices in London, Paris, Liège, the USA and Hong Kong, SRO’s work is facilitated by a dedicated global team of full-time and freelance staff.
A Brief History
1992: Stéphane Ratel organises his first race, at the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit, launching the Gentleman Drivers Trophy. The one-make series uses production models from French manufacturer Venturi.
1995: SRO Ltd is created to organise the Lamborghini Supertrophy.
1997: SRO becomes the promoter of the new FIA GT Championship.
1998: SV Organisation (Later SRO Paris) is created and takes over the promotion of the FFSA French GT Championship.
2000: SRO co-ordinates the two European rounds of the American Le Mans Series, which take place at Silverstone and the Nürburgring. It also runs the Lamborghini Supertrophy, French GT Championship and FIA GT Championship.
2001: With the support of TV broadcaster Eurosport, the FIA GT Championship joins forces with the FIA European Touring Car Championship and Formula Renault Eurocup to run as the Eurosport Super Racing Weekend.
2002: The multi-platform series becomes the LG Super Racing Weekend. The French Supertouring Championship is added to the list of SRO-organised series, while the company also agrees takes over the running of the FIA Sportscar Championship for the 2003 season.
2003: As part of the LG Super Racing Weekend, the FIA GT Championship enjoys its most successful year since its late-nineties heyday. Stéphane Ratel works on building links between the FIA and the ACO, forming the Le Mans Endurance Series for 2004.
2004: SRO London takes over the promotion of the British F3 and GT Championships. SRO runs the FFSA Super Série, bringing together the major French national series.
2005: British F3 is renamed the British F3 International Series and joins the Le Mans Endurance Series at four rounds. SRO works on the launch of the FIA GT3 European Championship.
2006: The FIA GT Championship breaks away from Eurosport and sets up its own calendar. The new FIA GT3 European Championship proves a huge success, with grids of more than 40 cars and eight manufacturers represented during its inaugural season.
2007: The World Motor Sport Council announces that the FIA GT1 World Championship will be launched in 2010, with new technical regulations for GT1 and GT2 cars.
2008: SRO completes its first franchise agreement with the Dutch GT4 Championship. Belcar becomes the Belgian GT Championship.
2009: An agreement is reached to launch the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2010. The first GT4 franchise, the Dutch GT Championship, gets underway with great success.
2010: A new chapter in GT racing is written with the launch of the FIA GT1 World Championship. Six prestigious brands – Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Nissan – are each represented by two teams fielding two cars, forming an impressive grid of 24 GT1 machines. Among the competitors are seven past FIA GT champions and nine former F1 drivers. 10 meetings across three continents, each with a pair of one-hour sprint races, produce action-packed competition across the globe. Elsewhere, the GT4 Asia Cup expands the GT4 franchise beyond Europe for the first time.
2011: With the new FIA GT1 World Championship using a sprint-race format, there is clear need for an international GT endurance championship. The Blancpain Endurance Series is launched and meets instant success, with a healthy entry for its inaugural five-race series centred around the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz Grand Challenge is launched in Brazil, while SRO becomes the promoter of the Formula Renault Championship and the Air Asia Renault Clio Cup in the UK.
2012: The FIA GT1 World Championship and FIA GT3 European Championship compete at Moscow Raceway, marking the first time that an FIA World Championship event is held in Russia. The Blancpain Endurance Series concludes a successful second season, with the Total 24 Hours of Spa attracting a field of 66 cars, the most since the event became a GT race more than a decade earlier.
2013: The new-look FIA GT Series is announced in January, while the Blancpain Endurance Series and British GT Championship grow to record levels.
2014: Encouraged by the success of the Blancpain Endurance Series, Blancpain and SRO Motorsports Group agree to enhance their partnership by creating a Sprint Series. By extension, this offers teams and drivers the opportunity to compete for an overall Blancpain GT Series title for the first time.
2015: With the inaugural season of the Blancpain GT Series proving a success, SRO continues to expand the category. New venues such as Misano and Moscow Raceway are included on the calendar and significant prize money is introduced for the Blancpain Endurance Series. SRO continues its development with a number of new programmes, such as GT Sports Club for amateur drivers; the Ultracar Sports Club for the most spectacular machines; the SRO Race Centre at Paul Ricard, in association with Michel Mhitarian; and a new partnership with Sepang International Circuit for the Sepang 12 Hours.
2016: The Intercontinental GT Challenge is created, forming a new global competition aimed at GT3 manufacturers. The inaugural season is made up of three iconic events: the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour; the Total 24 Hours of Spa; and the Sepang 12 Hours. Spa also remains part of the Blancpain GT Series, which continues to enjoy record grids for its 10-round championship
2017: The Intercontinental GT Challenge continues its development, with increased participation from leading drivers and brands. Laguna Seca replaces Sepang as the deciding round, with the California 8 Hours taking the series to the United States for the first time.
2018: The Total 24 Hours of Spa celebrates its 70th edition in style, with 13 competing brands setting a new record for the GT3 era. The Intercontinental GT Challenge expands to four events, with legendary Japanese circuit Suzuka hosting a 10-hour race. Away from the track, SRO takes a controlling stake in WC Vision, the producers of the Pirelli World Challenge, to establish SRO Motorsports Group as a full-time presence on the American continent.
2019: The Blancpain GT World Challenge concept is launched, encompassing regional series in Europe, Asia and America as well as an overall championship for manufacturers. The Intercontinental GT Challenge expands to five events on as many continents thanks to the addition of South African venue Kyalami, while the Total 24 Hours of Spa sets a new record for the GT era by attracting a 72-car grid. At the season's end, SRO partners with the FIA to organise the FIA Motorsport Games, a new multi-disciplinary event that sees drivers compete for their home nation.
2020: A new partnership with Amazon Web Services sees the continental series in Europe, Asia and America adopt the GT World Challenge Powered by AWS name, while Swiss watchmaker Rebellion joins as official timekeeper. It proves to be a successful season, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa celebrating its 20th edition as a GT race and Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli competing at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time. In December, it is announced that Australia will join the global programme in 2021, adding a fourth continent to the expanding manufacturers' championship.
2021: The year begins on a positive note as Fanatec become title sponsor of GT World Challenge Powered by AWS and the new GT2 European Series. Some of the world's most incredible machinery hits the track in GT1 Sports Club Powered by Curbstone, which stages its inaugural meeting at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The Fanatec GT2 European Series debuts at Monza, while FFSA TC France further enhances SRO's involvement with touring car racing. In a further groundbreaking initiative, virtual racing becomes part of Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS through a series of esports contests that count towards the real championship. 2021 ends with more exciting news as SRO confirms plans to work alongside the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and Asian Le Mans Endurance Management to jointly oversee the 2023 Asian Le Mans Series.
2022: With Covid-19 restrictions easing, the 2022 season is highlighted by a number of important comebacks. They include Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS, which returns following a two-year hiatus and enjoys a successful season, particularly with the introduction of its new Japan Cup. What's more, the FIA Motorsport Games stages its second edition, expanding from six disciplines to 16, and is subsequently recognised as “Best Live Event” at The Race Media Awards. The past and the future come to the fore at Spa-Francorchamps, where SRO celebrates 30 years in GT racing with a special historic race organised by Peter Auto. Meanwhile, leading cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike is named as title sponsor of the 24 Hours of Spa from 2023 onwards, launching an exciting new era for the iconic race.
2023: The season ahead will see SRO stage more than 100 races that range from the marquee CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa to regional events across the globe. The Belgian endurance classic will reach an important milestone on 29 June – 2 July, staging its 75th edition and the first with CrowdStrike as title sponsor. Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli will return to its traditional five-round calendar, including a second appearance at the Gulf 12 Hours. What's more, the world's leading GT4 competitors are set to travel to Vallelunga in late October to undertake the Six Hours of Rome. As such 2023 promises to be another busy season for SRO and its dedicated global team.