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Ratel: New wave of GT3 models unprecedented

Tom Howard

Tuesday 5th January, 2016 - 5:11pm

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The Ferrari 488 is one of the new 2016 models absent from the Bathurst 12 Hour

The Ferrari 488 is one of the new 2016 models absent from the Bathurst 12 Hour

SRO boss Stephane Ratel says there was little his organisation could have done to allow the new 2016 GT3 models to contest this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour.

This season will see an unprecedented amount of new models burst onto the scene, which are currently not eligible for February’s Mount Panorama GT endurance classic.

Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche have all unveiled new GT3 models set to make their competitive debuts this year.

The Bathurst 12 Hour uses the SRO’s Balance of Performance system to achieve parity which is calibrated following a series of vigorous tests carried out on the cars.

BoP testing for the 2016 models will not be completed until the end of February ruling them out of this year’s race.

Speedcafe.com understands that the ineligibility of the 2016 models has contributed to renowned Ferrari squad AF Corse and an entry from American David Calvert Jones electing to miss the race.

AF Corse are due to contest the 2016 GT campaign with the new 488 GT3, while Calvert Jones had been hoping to field the new Porsche 991 GT3-R.

Former Bathurst 12 Hour winners Maranello Motorsport has ordered three 488 GT3s but will instead contest the race with their 458 GT3.

While aware of the unusual situation, Ratel says he would like to move the BoP testing forward although admits it is unlikely that several marques will launch new cars in such close succession in the future.

“I think these new cars do their first race in Daytona or around that but I’m not sure whether the manufacturers could deliver these cars on time for the race in Bathurst,” Ratel told Speedcafe.com.

“These cars are known to us and there is the FIA Ladeux test in Europe which measures some basic parameters but that doesn’t show the full potential of the car like the way we will be testing the cars for five days at Paul Ricard at the end of February.

“It is only when we do this extensive test with all the manufacturers present that we will have a better idea of the car and the BoP to be applied.

“I would love for it to be possible to do it earlier but it wasn’t the case because some cars are not properly ready.

“Maybe in the future we will try to do it earlier so they can be included at Bathurst but this year it was scheduled like this and we will have to live with it.

“For the future it all depends when the cars are ready to be tested. The new Ferrari has just been presented at Ladeux for very basic tests.

“Bathurst is really special and it is really the first race of the season but it is not every year where we have four or five new cars. We don’t always have this kind of radical transition.”

The Bathurst 12 Hour is set to host the inaugural round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge which is the brainchild of Ratel.

The new series will include the prestigious Spa 24 Hours and a race at the Circuit of the Americas before closing at the Sepang 12 Hour in December.

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