SRO acquires shareholding in WC Vision; Ratel named to Board of Directors

Ratel with Greg Gill. Photo: PWC
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LONG BEACH, Calif. – A huge bit of Pirelli World Challenge news has just come out… see the release below for more information.

WC Vision announced today that successful SRO Motorsports Group owner and Blancpain GT Series CEO Stephane Ratel has been named to the WC Vision and Pirelli World Challenge Board of Directors, as part of SRO Motorsports Group becoming a shareholder in WC Vision.

Ratel is the founder and CEO of the SRO Motorsports Group. The business was founded in 1995 and currently operates the promotion, support and organization of various international auto racing series throughout the world including the popular Blancpain GT Series. Ratel is internationally known as “the architect of modern GT racing.”

Ratel joins fellow WC Vision shareholders Bob Woodhouse, Peter Cunningham, Jim Haughey and Charles Morgan as a member of the Board of Directors of WC Vision.

Last March, Pirelli World Challenge officials announced an alliance with the SRO Motorsports Group. That affiliation will continue to grow during the 2016 season with the two sports car racing series utilizing similar technical regulations including the SRO Balance of Performance equations and other selected particulars.

“Working with Stephane and his SRO Motorsports Group, a great relationship has been established with WC Vision over the past year,” said Greg Gill, president and CEO of WC Vision, producers of the Pirelli World Challenge. “We have an open forum with their officials to work closely on the technical side with the GT3 regulations. Now, having Stephane join our Board of Directors, this definitely gives WC Vision and the Pirelli World Challenge a worldwide perspective from the leader in GT racing.”

Ratel is excited by his addition to the WC Vision Board of Directors and looks forward to the expansion of the GT production-based platform from North America to the international competition.

“Our alliance with WC Vision and Pirelli World Challenge has been outstanding,” said Ratel. “We have enjoyed working closely with Greg and his entire WC Vision staff as well as getting to know the WC Vision Board members. I’m very enthusiastic about joining the Board of Directors and the outlook for the company’s future. I see great potential in the Pirelli World Challenge and I can’t wait to work more closely within the series.”

Ratel has been closely associated with the revival of GT Racing since the mid 90’s. He was one of the founders of the BPR Series before launching the FIA GT Championship which he ran as a strong and stable European-based Championship with regular overseas events in China, South America and the Middle East.

The second key element was the introduction of the Balance of Performance concept. Its success in managing to equalize GT class cars, opened the way for the GT3 category, successfully initiated by SRO at the end of 2005.

SRO launched the Blancpain Endurance Series in 2011, as a direct continuation of the old three-hour, three-driver FIA GT Championship format and took over the promotion of the famous 24 Hours of Spa.

Recent years have seen SRO step out of most of the national and single-make series it was running, going from a maximum of 14 different series at one point to concentrate on the Blancpain GT Series, which combines the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, as well as the increasingly successful British GT Championship and the GT4 European Series, a category it created and for which it is is the exclusive rights holder.

SRO has also established new programs such as Intercontinental GT Challenge, the first-ever global GT3 Series, the Blancpain GT Sports Club for amateur drivers, the Blancpain Ultracar Sports Club for the most spectacular machines, the SRO Race Centre at Paul Ricard circuit and Curbstone, which provides ultimate track driving opportunities on world-renowned race circuits in Western Europe for supercar owners, as well as test driving facilities for race car drivers.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.