> New continental calendars confirmed in Europe, Asia and America
> Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes-AMG ready to fight for global title
> Ferrari leads championship standings ahead of return to racing
Advanced preparations are underway for GT World Challenge Powered by AWS to relaunch its global effort following confirmation of revised continental calendars for Europe, Asia and America.
A trio of leading automotive brands will compete on the international stage, with last year’s winner Mercedes-AMG facing established rival Ferrari and new contender Lamborghini. Each will look to prove the superiority of its customer racing programme and be crowned GT World Challenge Powered by AWS manufacturers' champion for 2020.
Track activity will resume with the GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS event at Virginia International Raceway on 9-12 July, followed by season-opening rounds in Europe (Imola, 25-26 July) and Asia (Sepang, 12-13 September). In light of the COVID-19 pandemic that postponed the season, events will be staged under local regulations and with appropriate precautions in place to maintain the safety of competitors, circuit workers and the wider community.
Trio of brands undertake global challenge
Now entering its second year of competition, the innovative GT World Challenge Powered by AWS format adds a new dimension to customer racing by allowing both professional and amateur drivers to contribute towards their brand's international success. Results are drawn from three established continental series, with this year's combined calendar of 18 events spanning leading circuits in Europe, Asia and America.
Points are awarded to the best-finishing car per brand in each class, with the allocation depending on the event format: 25 are on offer at one-hour sprint races, with a maximum of 100 awarded at the Total Spa 24 Hours. The amount of points scored is multiplied by the number of cars competing in each class to give the final total.
Reigning champion Mercedes-AMG will head into battle with an upgraded version of its popular GT3 machine. The previous generation car was a consistent front-runner on all three continents and its successor will be well represented, with multiple entries in Europe, Asia and America. The German brand will therefore have high hopes of defending its global title this year.
Ferrari provided the opposition to Mercedes-AMG last term and will look to exact revenge in 2020 by taking the GT World Challenge Powered by AWS crown back to Maranello. Like its rival, the Italian brand has an updated version of its 488 GT3 and can rely on several strong representatives. Ferrari tops the global standings following the season-opening GT World Challenge America event, which took place prior to the pause in international motor racing.
Lamborghini joins the GT World Challenge Powered by AWS fold for 2020 looking to add another major title to its growing collection. The Italian marque can rely on strong customer bases in Asia and Europe, having clinched both continental titles over the previous two seasons. Few cars have enjoyed the same success as the Huracan GT3, making it a worthy rival for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and Ferrari's 488 GT3.
Full calendars in place for Europe, Asia and America
Having opened its season on 6-8 March at Circuit of the Americas, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS will also be the first to resume when it races at VIR. This will be followed by events at Sonoma Raceway (7-9 August), Road America (28-30 August), Watkins Glen (18-29 September), and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2-4 October), the latter taking place alongside Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli.
GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS will be the next to hit the track, with the Imola opener followed by trips to Misano (7-9 August), Nürburgring (5-6 September), Magny-Cours (11-13 September), Zandvoort (25-27 September) and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (9-11 October). The series will then stage its marquee contest, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which is scheduled for 22-25 October. The European season concludes at Circuit Paul Ricard, which stages its traditional six-hour contest on 13-15 November.
The GT World Challenge Asia Powered by AWS campaign will begin at Sepang on 12-13 September before heading to Shanghai (17-18 October) for its maiden three-hour endurance race. A second Chinese round will follow on 31 October-1 November, with the circuit due to be announced shortly. Finally, the Asian series will stage the deciding GT World Challenge Powered by AWS event of the season when it returns to Sepang on 5-6 December.
All 18 rounds will be broadcast live and in full on the championship’s official website and across its social media platforms, while extensive international TV coverage will take the action into households across the globe. With its plans now firmly in position, GT World Challenge Powered by AWS is ready to race again.
Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO: “I am very proud to present the revised global GT World Challenge Powered by AWS calendar for 2020 and wish to thank those whose dedicated work made it possible. The format of the championship aligns with our environmental roadmap, which becomes one of SRO's major priorities. Motorsport is at an important stage, with environmental matters now the central challenge facing the industry. By encouraging manufacturers to support local competitors who score points towards a global championship, GT World Challenge Powered by AWS reflects the changes that are taking place. Competitors remain within their own regions, resulting in less travel and no transcontinental logistics, which we know to have a significant carbon footprint. This gives me great faith in the concept as we move forward and I am pleased to welcome Lamborghini to an expanded line-up alongside Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari. The support of three leading international brands demonstrates the strength of the GT World Challenge Powered by AWS and we are very grateful for their commitment. With a full schedule in place, we can now look forward to exciting racing in each of our continental series and a tremendous battle for the global title.”