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Blancpain GT Series Introduces Zero-Tolerance Policy on Contact

By Gary Watkins May 17, 2017

The introduction of a zero-tolerance policy on driving infringements resulted in 17 penalties during Sunday's Endurance Cup round of the Blancpain GT Series at Silverstone.

Series organizer Stephane Ratel said that he had introduced the driving-standards clampdown after reviewing the multi-car startline accident at the opening round at Monza last month and a number of other incidents this year.

Ratel explained that he wanted to reduce contact in both the Endurance and Sprint Cup arms of the BGTS, as well as reinforcing the authority of the race director.

"After the looking at Monza and the accident on the first lap at Misano [the Sprint Cup opener], the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium [which sanctions the BGTS] and I think the series has become too aggressive," he told Autosport.

"GT cars are not touring cars; they are way too expensive to play at touring car racing.

"The message is, if you want to pass someone by pushing them off, go to the British Touring Car Championship or the World Touring Car Championship."

The new policy of zero tolerance means that all contact will lead to a penalty.

"From now on, any contact will result in a penalty and the severity will be graduated according to the consequences of the contact," explained Ratel.

"If you hit a car and it goes off the track and comes back on, you get a drive-through, but if it hits the wall, you get a stop-go.

"We need to make sure that we have strong penalties and we need to restore the authority of the referee, which in our case is the race director."

Ratel explained that he was concerned about the effect of accidents on the size of the grid in BGTS.

"If we continue like this we will lose our amateurs and some teams will run out of budget before the end of the season," he said.

There were 12 drive-throughs during the three-hour race at Silverstone on Sunday for offenses ranging from causing a collision to ignoring a red light at the end of the pitlane.

The most significant penalty was a one-minute stop-go awarded to the pole-winning Auto Sport Promotion Mercedes-AMG GT3 started by Felix Serralles.

It was penalized for a hitting Mirko Bortolotti's Grasser Lamborghini Huracan GT3 on the formation lap and being out of position as the cars approached the start.

The Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GTE shared by Daniel Keilwitz, Alexander Mattschull and Rinat Salikhov was excluded after the team failed to bring in the car for a drive-through for an unsafe release.

Ratel also said that there were plans to introduce a GPS system for each car to allow race officials to enforce the 90km/h speed limit before the start. 

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