SRO Motorsports America has grown to four championships that provide unique growth opportunities for both teams and drivers. This is done through an internal ladder system with international connections supported by multiple partners and manufacturers.
At the top, Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS headlines the North American-based series. A part of the global GT World Challenge championship, GT3-only racing offers the ultimate challenge with its 90-min sprint races that feature full-service pit stops and a driver change. With several classes based on driver experience, teams and drivers race against tough competition with various manufacturers, all balanced to be competitive on any given weekend.
With a similar format, Pirelli GT4 America has been the breeding ground for drivers with large grids, diverse machinery, and a multi-driver format that mimics Fanatec GT World Challenge except with 60-minute competitions. Two drivers form a driver pairing and compete across three different classes with Silver, Pro-Am, and Am combinations.
True to its roots, SRO America also offers its traditional single-driver sprint races with GT America powered by AWS and TC America powered by Skip Barber.
GT America powered by AWS gives a home to current and older GT3 variations, alongside GT2 and GT4 cars. With 40-min contests, drivers are tested to combine speed and racecraft to contend for race wins. GT America has become an important training ground for drivers looking to move up to Fanatec GT World Challenge or gain additional seat time on a race weekend by competing in both championships.
TC America powered by Skip Barber, is the ideal opening platform for drivers advancing their racecraft or fulfilling their FIA requirements to gain an FIA Class C license. The touring car-based series provides close racing and an exciting array of racecars from diverse brands. Many drivers have started their professional debut in TC America and moved up the ladder to Pirelli GT4 America and Fanatec GT World Challenge America.
For benefactors from the system, look no further than Samantha Tan. Tan started her SRO career in 2015 with a Kia Forte in the TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing School series. Then she moved on to the GT4 America SprintX West, where she won the team championship with ST Racing and followed that performance up with a GT4 America SprintX Silver championship.
In 2023, she competes in the Fanatec World Challenge America powered by AWS with Derek DeBoer, another driver who developed in SRO Motorsports America. DeBoer started his career with the Pirelli GT4 America series in 2019.
Robbie Montinola, the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, breaks down the development system.
“We strive to make it easy to grow within our paddock as teams and drivers earn more experience,” Montinola said. “We believe our platforms are a cost-effective way to enjoy pro racing. Similar sporting regulations exist throughout the series, consisting of Sprint (one-driver) and SprintX (two-driver) formats, technical processes and management teams all being shared.
“It’s exciting to see TC teams move to the GT4 category and GT4 teams take on GT3 with the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS being our premier series that many have on their horizon.”
This year SRO Motorsports America also welcomes GR Cup North America to the paddock in a partnership with Toyota. The series focuses on the new GR86 race car, where competitors compete for an attractive prize purse of $1 million dollars. Toyota will use the GR Cup North America to become the top single-make series for sports car racing. Not only will the competition be quality, but Toyota also promises the price point will be practical.
“They have a winning formula we’re happy to showcase at SRO events throughout the season,” Montinola said. “Toyota’s commitment to racing is unparalleled, looking at what they’ve been able to accomplish in NASCAR, NHRA, and elsewhere. To have the full force of Toyota behind this is a testament to their desire to make their mark on sports car racing. It will be fun to watch with the large grids forecasted and see young talent fostered in this environment.”
Part of what allows Toyota's new program to join SRO Motorsports America effortlessly is the familiarity between classes and series. This benefit is shared and felt between drivers, teams and manufacturers. Drivers and teams can often stay with their preferred manufacturer as they climb the ladder system. Familiarity with the series rules in their machinery adds to the great racing each weekend.
“The similarity in cars is also important,” Montinola said. “Many brands have programs in various series, allowing a GT4 driver to move into GT3 with the same brand. The same is said for the tracks; similar schedules take away some variables for drivers when moving up series. Even our Pirelli tires offer consistency across championships.”
One category that has seen incredible global growth is SRO’s GT4 platform. In North America and Europe, SRO has seen car counts between 40-50 cars. A vast field for most venues. In addition, it's executing the promise of being cost-attentive and seeing teams develop.
“The ability to share the car and cost with another driver in the two-driver format has helped make GT4 the place to be,” Montinola said. “It allows teams and drivers to function much like a GT World Challenge team without the extra costs of refueling, amongst other things. GT4 competition is a great place to hone-in racecraft and, for fans, a fun series to watch with many battles throughout the field. Pirelli GT4 America is the ultimate training ground for a move up to GT3, with cars that have less aero and electronic assists that help drivers be ready for a move up.”
The SRO America season begins with GT America powered by AWS first on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 3-5. All other series open together at Sonoma Raceway from March 30 through April 2. Tickets are still available for both events. Check out SRO Motorsports America races on SRO’s YouTube channel GT World.