The 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge has its final round at the second edition of the Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours this weekend. Here is everything you need to know to enjoy an exciting season decider.
THE TITLE FIGHT
Last year, the inaugural edition of the California 8 Hours – the longest ever race on the Laguna Seca Raceway in its sixty years of existence – proved to be the season decider. Audi Sport Team Magnus took the win with their R8 LMS GT3, driven by Pierre Kaffer, Kelvin Van Der Linde and Markus Winkelhock. For the latter and for Audi that was enough to claim the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles respectively.
In 2018 the event will be the season decider again. As you can see in the graphs below, all three title fights are still open. For the manufacturers’ title two candidates remain: Mercedes-AMG leads Audi by nine points. Four drivers are still in the running for the drivers’ title: Rafaelle Marciello and Tristan Vautier lead the standings, with 18 points in hand over Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase. Although both duos have raced together during the first three rounds of the 2018 Intercontinental GT Challenge, their respective manufacturers (Mercedes-AMG and Audi) have split them up for the season finale, in order to maximise their chances for the drivers’ title. The third title fight to be decided this weekend is the one for the Bronze drivers, where Kenny Habul (Mercedes-AMG) leads Tim Pappas (Porsche) by twenty points.
Points count towards the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ titles on the following basis. These are the same for all Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds.
1st 25 | 2nd 18 | 3rd 15 | 4th 12 | 5th 10 | 6th 8 | 7th 6 | 8th 4 | 9th 2 | 10th 1
Only the top-two entries nominated by manufacturers to score Intercontinental GT Challenge Manufacturers’ points will do so. Should more than two cars of a specific manufacturer finish in the top ten, these cars will be considered invisible and their points will be redistributed to the next eligible car.
If two or more drivers or manufacturers finish the season with the same number of points, the higher place in the Challenge shall be awarded to the holder of the greatest number of first places. If the number of first places is the same, the holder of the greatest number of second places, and so on until a winner emerges. In the case of manufacturers, the above criteria will be based firstly on the highest placed individual car, and in the event of a remaining tie then the second-best placed car.
If this procedure fails to produce a result, the driver or manufacturer (best placed individual car) who ranked best in the last race of the season will be ranked the highest in the season results.
Twelve of the 33 cars on the entry list are eligible to score points in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, with one more car including a driver eligible to score points for the Bronze drivers’ title. The other twenty cars are part of these categories: GT3 overall, GT3 Pro-AM, GTC, GT4/GTS and TCR, which all will have have their own rankings and podium ceremonies.
Three Paid Practice, Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying sessions take place on Thursday and Friday before qualifying is staged on Saturday. The race itself starts on Sunday morning at 9.15am (local time PDT, GMT/UTC-7).
• 4x 15-minute sessions decide the grid: Q1, Q2, Q3 and Pole Shootout.
• All three drivers per car must set a time in each session, with one driver in each session.
• The fastest laps from each session are combined to decide the quickest 15 cars, which then progress to the Pole Shootout. Each team must nominate the driver who will take part in the Shootout and only the fastest flying lap per car will count. All cars will be on track at the same time and may complete as many laps as possible.
• Maximum driving time per driver: 195 minutes (excluding time in the pits).
• In order for a car to be classified, each driver must have completed a minimum of 60 minutes behind the wheel (not including time spent in the pits).
• Maximum duration of one stint: 65 minutes.
• There are no specific pit windows.
• Simultaneous refuelling and tyre changes are not authorised.
• Pitstops that include refuelling are subject to a minimum pitstop time, which starts and stops when the car enters and exits the pitlane. That pitstop time is 101 seconds for GT3 and GTC cars, and 145 seconds for GT4/GTS and TCR cars.
• Short stops for fuel and changing maximum one tyre, minor repairs, or changing all four tyres with no fuel, must have a maximum duration of 50.00 seconds.
• For GT4/GTS and TCR cars only: any pit stop without refuelling but which includes changing one or two tyres must have a minimum duration of 50.00 seconds and any pit stop without refuelling but which includes changing three or four tyres must have a minimum duration of 85 seconds.
• There will be a non-cumulative one-second tolerance, which may be used three times during the event.
Pirelli tyre allocation
• Ten sets of slick Pirelli tyres will be marked per car. These sets must be used throughout the event, from Free Practice onwards. An additional set of tyres will be authorised for the cars qualifying for the pole shootout. This set of tyres may be used during the race but may not be used for the start of the race. An additional four ‘joker’ tyres may be used in the event of damage sustained to the regular allocation.
• During free practice and qualifying, wet-weather tyres may be used only after the track has been declared wet by the Clerk of the Course/the Race Director for that session. For the Race, the use of wet-weather tyres is free.
Thursday October 25th
9.25-10.55 Paid Test Session 1
12.45-14.15 Paid Test Session 2
15.25-16.55 Paid Test Session 3
Friday October 26th
9.20-10.50 Free Practice
14.00-15.30 Pre Qualifying
Saturday October 27th
10.35-10.50 Qualifying 1 – Driver 1
11.00-11.15 Qualifying 2 – Driver 2
11.25-11.40 Qualifying 3 – Driver 3
14.40-14.55 Pole Shootout
Sunday October 28th
9.15-17.15 Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours
HOW TO FOLLOW
All Qualifying sessions, Pole Shootout and Race will be streamed live on the website www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com and on the Facebook-page of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Fans in the USA and Canada can watch the race on CBS Sports (from 9am till 11am and from 4pm till 5.30pm) and Motortrend on Demand (full race).
Live Timing is available on www.tsl-timing.com/event/184306/
Social Media :
Facebook : Intercontinental GT Challenge
Twitter : @intercontGTC #IntGTC #cal8h
Instagram : @IntercontinentalGTChallenge #intGTC #cal8h
Pirelli – Official Tyre Supplier
Pirelli is a tyre manufacturer and world leader in the automotive industry. It has an exclusive relationship with over 50 racing series worldwide, including Formula One.
Pirelli has a long and illustrious history in endurance racing, and has also claimed a huge variety of class wins in GT racing all over the world. The design of the new Pirelli GT tyres meets the needs of GT racing while maintaining the performance characteristics that endurance drivers have appreciated in the past. The slick tyres used for GT racing are branded Zero: just like the slicks that have become a central feature of Formula One. The name P Zero is used in the highest categories of motorsport such as GT racing.
SRO Motorsports Group, the architect of modern GT racing
Over the past 25 years SRO has specialised in the promotion and organisation of motorsport series around the world.
Inextricably linked with GT racing’s revival in the early 1990s, currently SRO predominantly promotes series that adhere to the successful GT3 and GT4 regulations. Indeed, these rules – a common framework allowing manufacturers, teams and drivers to compete equally with one another – have helped to establish SRO as the global leader in customer GT racing.
Today, SRO’s influence and organisation can be seen around the world. Its flagship continues to be the European-based Blancpain GT Series, which features both the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Its annual highlight remains the iconic Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The same Pirelli tyres and Balance of Performance parameters governing the Blancpain GT Series have also been adopted in the United States by the Pirelli World Challenge (of which SRO is the controlling shareholder), while SRO expanded its successful platform East in 2017 by establishing Blancpain GT Series Asia.
In addition, the world’s best GT races from all four corners of the globe are brought together under the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The 2018 edition features four events – the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours, and the California 8 Hours of Laguna Seca.
SRO is also strong domestically. The multi-class British GT Championship, over which it has presided since 2005, pairs GT3 with GT4 machinery. The FFSA French GT Championship, for many years run by SRO, returned to the fold in 2017, and was added to the existing GT4 European Series. GT4’s incredibly successful first season in France provided SRO with the blueprint and confidence to expand the class’ European footprint further. A new regional series to support the flourishing GT4 class has been added in 2018: the GT4 Central European Cup.
In addition, SRO’s world-renowned Balance of Performance regulations are licensed by other series running GT3 and/or GT4 machinery, such as Super GT in Japan, the Australian GT Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and the VLN in Germany and the China GT Championship. SRO also works closely with the FIA when organising its prestigious Macau FIA GT World Cup race.
While Macau caters solely for professional teams and drivers, SRO also understands the important role amateurs play in GT racing’s global success and sustainability. That is why it operates the SRO Race Centre by MMC – a high-level technical centre at Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France – and Curbstone Track Events, which provide the ultimate track driving opportunities on world-renowned circuits. Many of its clients have subsequently graduated to the Blancpain GT Sports Club, the first competitive stepping stone towards gaining the confidence and racecraft required to compete in a Pro/Am environment.
SRO continues to focus on new initiatives that meet the demands of a fast-changing motorsport industry. In light of this, the organisation will launch the inaugural Bahrain GT Festival in November 2018, working in collaboration with the FIA and the Bahrain International Circuit.
This end-of-season event will feature two new standalone races: the FIA GT Nations Cup for GT3 cars, and the GT4 world final, the SRO GT4 International Cup. The Nations Cup will see drivers competing for international honour in the colours of their home countries, while the GT4 contest will bring together the global elite from this rapidly-growing category.
What’s more, SRO will also organise the first GT4 Europe Final at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit in October, creating yet another competitive challenge for the continent’s many GT4 racers.
SRO Motorsports Group is chaired by company founder and CEO Stephane Ratel and has offices in London, Paris, Liège and Hong Kong. Its dedicated team of full-time and freelance staff work with the support of numerous national sporting authorities and sanctioning bodies to offer teams, drivers and manufacturers the world’s best professional, Pro/Am and amateur GT racing platforms.