GT World Challenge Powered by AWS is a new international championship organised by SRO Motorsports Group in which leading manufacturers compete through their regional customer racing programmes.
Six events comprising a total of 11 races staged at Sepang (Malaysia), Buriram (Thailand), Suzuka and Fuji (both Japan), plus twice in Shanghai (China) count towards Asia’s standalone Teams’ and Drivers’ championships, but also offer points towards the multi-continental Manufacturers’ title.
Indeed, a total of 22 non-clashing events will play out during the 2020 season, with sprint and endurance rounds staged across Europe and North America, as well as Asia. This includes the historic Total 24 Hours of Spa and Shanghai 888, both of which join the championship for the first time this year.
Brands represented in all three series are eligible to compete for the global GT World Challenge Powered by AWS title through their customer squads, with points awarded to the best-finishing car per brand in each class. The allocation differs depending on the event format: 25 are on offer at sprint races, while 100 will be awarded at the Total Spa 24 Hours. The number of points scored is multiplied by the amount of cars competing in each class to give the final total.
2019’s inaugural title was won by Mercedes-AMG, which defeated fierce rival Ferrari to be crowned champion. 2020 will represent the second season for the global GT World Challenge format and features an expanded schedule. Drawing on the wealth of experience and knowledge accumulated by SRO Motorsports Group, GT World Challenge aims to be the benchmark in global customer racing.
Unlike its European and North American counterparts, GT World Challenge Asia also features GT4 entries. As such, it is one of only two championships in SRO’s current portfolio to include multi-class competition.
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 regulation mandating 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, 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. Its 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, 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.
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 GT World Challenge Asia.
Just like GT3, all GT4 cars are governed by SRO’s Balance of Performance regulations.
THE PROMOTER: SRO MOTORSPORTS GROUP - THE GLOBAL LEADER IN GT RACING
With more than 25 years’ experience at the forefront of a continuously evolving industry, SRO Motorsports Group is the established international leader in GT racing.
Best known for the development and implementation of the GT3 and GT4 regulations, SRO promotes and organises championships that embrace professional and amateur competitors. Its portfolio of highly regarded series includes continental GT World Challenge powered by AWS categories in Europe, America and Asia, which are combined to determine a global manufacturers' champion, while the flagship Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli features events on five different continents.
The 2020 season will see more than 100 races run under the SRO Motorsports Group banner, highlighted by the prestigious Total 24 Hours of Spa. In addition to promotion and organisation, the company operates SRO Race Centre by MMC – a race-car service center at Circuit Paul Ricard – and provides the ultimate driving opportunities at world-renowned venues through Curbstone Track Events.
SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. With offices in London, Paris, Liège, United States and Hong Kong, its work is facilitated by a dedicated global team of full-time and freelance staff.
Combining a passion for performance with industry-leading expertise, SRO continues to play a key role in shaping the future of international GT racing.