- New machinery and fresh team-manufacturer alliances promise unpredictable competition
- Legendary venues Monza and the Nürburgring back on the calendar for 2023
- Record grids in store for Fanatec GT Sprint Cup and 75th CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa
- High-calibre support line-up
The 2023 Fanatec GT Europe season is very nearly upon us. Monza will host the opening round on 21–23 April, kicking off a 10-round championship that takes in some of the continent’s premier racing venues.
There is always plenty to be excited about at the start of a new campaign, but 2023 looks especially interesting. Indeed, with new cars, returning tracks and record-breaking grids, the year ahead could set a new benchmark for Europe’s premier GT series. Here are six areas of interest to whet your appetite for the season ahead.
New machinery is always a source of serious excitement and we're spoiled for choice this year, with four brands heading into 2023 using new or upgraded models.
Ferrari (296 GT3) and Porsche (911 GT3 R) fall into the former category. Both brands revealed their latest challengers at last season's CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa and we finally saw them on-track for the first time at the pre-season Prologue. The Ferrari is perhaps the most aggressive of the Maranello brand's GT3 fleet, while Porsche has based its latest weapon on the 992 generation of cars.
For both Lamborghini and McLaren, 2023 is about evolution. The Italian marque has rolled out the third generation of its ultra-successful Huracán model – the EVO2 – which is well represented on both the Fanatec GT Sprint and Endurance Cup grids. McLaren has also given its popular 720s the evo treatment and the British marque can count on four Sprint Cup entries and five for the Endurance rounds.
RETURNING TO LEGENDARY CIRCUITS
Monza and the Nürburgring both return to the Fanatec GT Europe schedule in 2023 following a one-year absence. These are two of the most iconic venues in motorsport, so it’s a move that should be very popular with competitors and fans alike.
Monza hosted the very first Endurance Cup race back in 2011 so it has a special place in Fanatec GT Europe history. This will be the series' 11th visit to the circuit, set within a spectacular sprawl of Lombardy parkland, which is an essential pilgrimage for every racing fan.
The Nürburgring is another legendary venue. The 2023 race will be the 12th visit for Fanatec GT Europe and, like Monza it's a fantastic setting in which experience live motorsport. You’re guaranteed a fantastic view, whether that’s a field of GT3 cars or the picturesque Eifel countryside.
Tickets are already on sale for the trip to Monza, with the Nürburgring set to follow soon.
A RECORD FANATEC GT SPRINT CUP GRID
When the 2023 season entry lists were revealed, the biggest news was the Fanatec GT Sprint Cup. With 41 cars confirmed, this will be the biggest grid ever seen in the short-format series, with a record eight brands set to be on-track.
Space restrictions mean that there will be no Bronze Cup class at either Brands Hatch or Zandvoort, though these events will still see no fewer than 30 cars on-track. Indeed, Brands Hatch is set to host the biggest Sprint grid in six years – even with an entire class missing! At Misano, Hockenheim and Valencia we'll be treated to the sight of 41 GT3 cars charging into the opening corner, a sight not to be missed.
Tickets for the curtain raiser at Brands Hatch are already on sale. The mid-season events at Misano and Hockenheim are also available to purchase now, with Valencia and Zandvoort to follow.
It is always intriguing to see a team switch manufacturer – and this season we have plenty to look forward to. Team WRT and Audi parted ways at the end of 2022, concluding the most successful affiliation in Fanatec GT Europe history. The Belgian squad is now working with BMW, forming an alliance that promises to be especially potent at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.
Speaking of the marquee race, its 2021 winner Iron Lynx has swapped Ferrari for Lamborghini. With significant Spa pedigree in its ranks, many feel that Iron Lynx could be the final piece of the puzzle that allows the Italian marque to finally take its maiden victory in the Ardennes.
Emil Frey Racing is used to switching manufacturers: the Swiss team has previously run Jaguar, Lexus and Lamborghini machinery and now links up with Ferrari to field its new 296 GT3. Two more established squads swap brands, with Car Collection Motorsport joining the Porsche ranks and Sky Tempesta Racing linking up with McLaren.
A host of new teams join the grid, too, with Comtoyou Racing (Audi), CLRT (Porsche), Pure Rxcing (Porsche) and Theeba Motorsport (Mercedes-AMG) all set to run the full season. 7TSIX (McLaren), CSA Racing (Audi), Rutronik Racing (Porsche) and ST Racing by Rinaldi (Ferrari) will join the Fanatec GT Endurance Cup field, while Nova Race (Honda) will debut in Sprint.
A SPECTACULAR CROWDSTRIKE 24 HOURS OF SPA
The CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa is always the highlight of the season, but 2023 promises something extra special. For starters, this will be the 75th edition of the Belgian endurance classic, as well as the first since new title sponsor CrowdStrike joined. That means a fresh visual identity for the long-standing event, which is gearing up for its 100th anniversary next year.
And then there's the grid. With an incredible 72-car field made up entirely of GT3 cars, this is set to be a new record for the Ardennes enduro. There will be eight different brands on the grid, while the teams include one-off entries from as far afield as China, the United States and Australia.
That's to say nothing of an all-star support line-up and a wealth of off-track entertainment that includes the parade, music concert and a host of activities in the paddock. Put simply, this year’s CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa is not to be missed. It runs from 29 June through 2 July and a range of tickets can be purchased now.
A HIGH CALIBRE SUPPORT LINE-UP FOR 2023
A varied line-up of high-calibre support championships will join Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS at its race weekends in 2023, ensuring a wealth of track action at each of this season's 10 events.
There are new and familiar names among the 18 different championships that will make at least one appearance this year. GT action forms the heart of the programme, while single-seaters, touring cars and historic machinery are also represented. What’s more, a pair of esports categories will add another dimension to the show at each Endurance Cup event.
These are the series that will join the Fanatec GT tour in 2023: Click here.
The 2023 Fanatec GT Europe season will begin with a three-hour Endurance Cup race at Monza on 21–23 April, while the Sprint Cup launches at Brands Hatch on 13–14 May. Tickets for these events and several others – including the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa – are on sale now. Please click here for further information: www.fanatec-gt-world-challenge-europe.com