Opinion: IGTC’s Make or Break Nürburgring 24 Move
Joining forces with the N24 could help to inject new life into the IGTC but it remains to be seen if it will work...
When Frikadelli Racing Team’s Ferrari 296 GT3 crossed the line to win the Nürburgring 24 in May, it made lots of people very happy, not least team boss Klaus Abbelen, the four drivers and the representatives from Maranello.
But another equally delighted individual was Stephane Ratel, who at that moment became convinced about pressing ahead with a make-or-break move for his global series, the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.
Two weeks ago, Ratel and N24 race director Walter Hornung stood on a stage at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa to announce that the German endurance race, held on the 15.7-mile combined Grand Prix and Nordschleife circuit, will become part of the IGTC next year.
The idea originated a few months ago, but advanced talks only moved forward recently. The N24 will join the Bathurst 12 Hour, Spa, the Indianapolis 8 Hour and potentially a fifth event on the 2024 schedule. It will continue to be run by ADAC Nordrhein, keeping the existing rulebook and Balance of Performance system. IGTC-registered manufacturers will nominate some of their cars in the SP9 class to score points, in the same way as Spa.
For the event organizer, it is a move that helps to add international kudos to what has always been a largely German affair. For Ratel, it could prove to be a way out of a tough period for the IGTC that has seen manufacturer numbers slip from eight to three since 2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic influencing the decline. He even suggested during the announcement that he considered dropping the IGTC altogether if he couldn’t come up with a brainwave solution to tempt back the brands.