Spa is the spiritual home of sports cars and was the highlight of the 2010 season. Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Next year’s Avon Tyres British GT Championship is set to be a true test of driver, car and team stamina, featuring a BRSCC run three-hour late-summer event on the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit as well as a trio of two-hour races. The provisional calendar for the series, revealed this week, also includes a visit to sports car racing’s spiritual home, the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

There will be eight events in total, most of them joint meetings alongside the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series, with the championship blasting into action – much as it means to carry on – with a two-hour refuelling race on Easter Monday, 25 April, at Oulton Park. There will be two-hour races also on the new-for-2011 Snetterton ‘300’ circuit and as the season finale on Silverstone’s ‘Arena’ circuit.

Twin one-hour ‘sprint’ races are planned for the Brands Hatch and Rockingham meetings, and there will be a further double-header event, probably at Silverstone or Donington in late July, the details of which have yet to be finalised. The two one-hour races planned for Spa will see the British GT grid merging with that of the FIA GT4 European Cup.

Championship manager Benjamin Franassovicci believes the 180-minute Donington Park race will be a real test for the British GT teams: “The 150-minute race held at Spa was a highlight of the 2010 season and a favourite with the drivers, and I think they will welcome the opportunity to really stretch themselves and their machines as a ‘one off’ over a three-hour race duration.

“We believe this calendar is the best ever for British GT and we are happy that half of the planned events will be to a longer-distance format. It’s going to be an exciting season, for sure.”

Among the regulation changes planned for the coming season is a switch from success ballast to a pit-stop time penalty formula. For 2011, cars achieving success will not have their performance pegged back by the addition of extra weight but will instead be penalised with a longer driver-change pit stop.

There will be revisions also to the championship class structure, with the introduction of a GT3 ‘Class B’ to accommodate older cars which are still competitive but do not conform to the latest FIA homologations. GT3 will continue as the championship’s ‘premier division’, and there will be classes also for GT4 cars and GT Cup machinery.

Race entry fees will be pegged at 2010 rates for GT3 competitors, and there will be reduced entry fees for teams contesting GT3 Group B, GT4 and GTC. There are plans also for the introduction of a ‘Gentleman’s Trophy’, a new logo and championship rebrand. The championship’s superb TV package of Channel 4 and Motors TV coverage is set to continue.

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