Taking the 24 Hours of Spa weekend as the scenario, Stéphane Ratel and the SRO announced in advance the calendar of the Blancpain GT Series for the next year, with essentially reallocated slots that bring new races to the series.
The number of races was in fact preserved, with ten weekends equally split between the Sprint and Endurance Cups, but some rounds were dropped in favor of new ones. The Italy-UK trip from the start of the season remains unchanged, as Misano, Monza, Brands Hatch and Silverstone keep their early slots from March to May. After that, a Sprint round at Zandvoort will occur in a still to be confirmed date, returning after being a late hour addition to the calendar in 2015, ahead of the two most important events of the calendar: the Paul Ricard 1000 km and the TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa, taking the middle of the year for them.
In an another unconfirmed date in August, the Sprint Cup resumes action but it is still up to confirmation of a return to Hungaroring or the inclusion of the Red Bull Ring in Austria in its place. Nürburgring drops its Endurance Cup race and focuses entirely in the Sprint Cup in mid September, but with only the Sprint event remaining, it didn’t become clear if the currently used Sprint track layout will continue to hold the event or if the full GP-Strecke layout will take its place. The season will end in early October at Barcelona, but instead of the still to be held Sprint Cup round like in 2016, the famous Spanish circuit takes the Endurance Cup slot previously occupied by Nürburgring, meaning a return to Blancpain Endurance racing in Spain since 2012, when Navarra held the 3-hour event that is the standard of the series.
The whole 2017 calendar will look like this:
Test Days – Paul Ricard – March 15th-16th
Sprint – Misano – April 1st-2nd
Endurance – Monza – April 22nd-23rd
Sprint – Brands Hatch – May 6th-7th
Endurance – Silverstone – May 13th-14th
Sprint – Zandvoort – TBA
Endurance – Paul Ricard 1000 – June 23rd-24th
Test Day – Spa-Francorchamps – July 4th
Endurance – TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa – July 27th-30th
Sprint – Hungaroring (or Red Bull Ring) – TBA
Sprint – Nürburgring – September 16th-17th
Endurance – Barcelona – September 30th-October 1st
PHOTO: Blancpain GT Series