A racing series as a safer alternative
GT racing bucks the trend in motorsport with its continual worldwide growth, and one man has overseen the vast majority of it: Stephane Ratel.
Through his SRO Motorsports Group, the Frenchman organises and promotes the Blancpain GT Series – Europe’s premier GT racing series – as well as several other championships and races around the world. These enjoy large grids, the support of numerous manufacturers and a cast of top-level drivers.
This revival of GT racing has been a 25-year project for Ratel, but like a lot of the best stories, it wasn’t planned.
“As a student in California I used to buy and then reimport sportscars to Europe,” he recalls. “Through that I created a network of clients and friends, and one day I had the silly idea of organising a dinner in Paris with a cannonball run down to St Tropez. We were young, it was crazy, and when I was asked to do it again I said ‘it’s not a good idea, we should do it on a racetrack. It will be safer and it will avoid me ending up in jail one day’."