- Champions of global and European series receive 2021 honours at lavish prize-giving ceremony
- Audi Sport collects Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli manufacturers’ title, Mercedes-AMG takes Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS crown
- Sustainability and esports now part of increasingly diverse programme
The stars of international GT racing descended on London yesterday (4 March) when the annual SRO Motorsports Group Awards celebrated the 2021 season with a spectacular prize-giving ceremony.
Attended by representatives from a wide variety of SRO series, the event rewarded last year's global and European champions during a gala evening at The Brewery London. With the venue situated at the heart of the city and in site of the Barbican, London's foremost example of post-war brutalist architecture, it provided a suitably spectacular location at which to honour the stars of 2021.
Audi Sport received the most coveted prize when it collected the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli manufacturers' title. Ferrari drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi and Côme Ledogar picked up the drivers' championship, while the pair were also recognised for their TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa victory with Iron Lynx alongside Nicklas Nielsen. The other major international award went to Mercedes-AMG, which claimed its third successive Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS triumph thanks to strong performances from its customer teams around the globe.
Now a central part of the SRO programme, sustainability also played a prominent role in the evening. The inaugural SRO Sustainability Trophy was presented to the Intelligent Money British GT Championship in recognition of a collective commitment to limiting environmental impact, with last year’s opening round at Brands Hatch featuring SRO’s first-ever fully carbon neutral entry.
In another first, the SRO Environmental Award was presented to Team WRT as the most sustainable outfit across all championships. The Belgian squad has made a particularly important contribution to SRO's Road to Carbon Neutrality competitor programme, displaying a keen appreciation for environmental matters.
This capped a standout evening for Team WRT, which won five overall titles from a possible six in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. Among its haul, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts collected the combined drivers' championship after a remarkably successful season for the Audi drivers. Further championship trophies were presented for the Silver Cup and Pro-Am classes, with Emil Frey Racing (Lamborghini), Barwell Motorsport (Lamborghini) and Sky Tempesta Racing (Ferrari) taking home the honours.
Each title-winning driver from the series also received a limited-edition watch from REBELLION Timepieces to mark their achievement, while the champions of Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS accepted their examples at a separate ceremony in the United States. Representatives from SRO America were also present in London to celebrate the 2021 season with their global colleagues.
In the GT4 European Series, United Autosports (McLaren) earned the Silver Cup crown, while Audi squads Saintéloc Racing and Team Fullmotorsport collected the Pro-Am and Am Cup titles respectively. For the first time, the Fanatec GT2 European Series was celebrated during the awards following its maiden season of competition. Titles were presented for the Pro-Am and Am Cup drivers' champions, the latter collected on the evening by Christoph Ulrich, Sportec Motorsport (KTM).
In FFSA GT French Championship there were title successes for AGS Events (Aston Martin), AKKA ASP (Mercedes-AMG) and Team Fullmotorsport (Audi), while the new FFSA Championnat de France Tourisme was celebrated for the first time, with class triumphs presented to representatives of Sport Auto Racing (Renault), Runner For Ever (Peugeot) and VSF Sports (BMW). In the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, Barwell Motorsport (Lamborghini) and Century Motorsport (BMW) took home the teams' titles in GT3 and GT4 respectively.
There were also a pair of highly significant individual honours to hand out. British GT presents its annual Allan Simonsen Trophy to a driver who displays the same speed and spirit that epitomised the Danish racer, who lost his life at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013. His fellow countryman Dennis Lind was announced as the 2021 recipient, recognising a campaign that included six fastest laps from seven weekends and GT3 title glory alongside Leo Machitski.
Of equal importance, the Sean Edwards Trophy is named in honour of the late GT ace and awarded to a standout GT4 driver to support their progress towards GT3. This year's winner was Bailey Voisin, who captured the 2021 GT4 European Series Silver Cup title in commanding style.
The increasing importance of virtual motorsport was demonstrated by its role in the ceremony, with last year’s Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series winners recognised for their achievements. Emil Frey Racing was crowned Pro champion, while Madpanda Motorsport collected the Silver Cup title. The top online performers were also present, with champions from the GT World Challenge and British GT Esports series receiving their silverware.
Though not a competitive endeavour, the Total Look Rally also played its part in the awards. There was a recap of last year’s popular event, Le Vendôme 80, as well as a preview of what’s to come when Dolce Vita 60 takes participants back to the era of Beatles songs and Fellini movies.
Friday's SRO Motorsports Group Awards was staged on the cusp of the new Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS campaign, with the official test days set to run at Circuit Paul Ricard on 7/8 March. The traditional pre-season gathering will see this year's hopefuls descend on the French venue for two days of running ahead of a packed calendar, which opens at Imola on 1-3 April. With last season now fully in the history books, it is time for 2022 to take centre stage.
Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group founder & CEO: “Firstly, my congratulations go to all of those who were recognised during the evening. Our series grow more competitive every year, so being crowned champion is something to be very proud of. It was very pleasing to see newer projects so strongly represented during the awards, with sustainability and esports both taking their place in the programme. The ceremony also provided the perfect way to thank our partners, circuits, teams and drivers that make our activities possible. We are proud to receive their support and hope that they thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Now we focus on the future, with Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS ready to launch its season with testing at Circuit Paul Ricard next week. There is rarely time to stop in this sport and it won't be long before we are discussing the champions of 2022.”