There's a lot of changes going on in the world of sports car racing, the bulk of them resulting from the rekindled friendship between the ACO (which organizes Le Mans and its related series) and the FIA (which until now governed just about every other form of motorsport). However, the FIA's own GT racing championships have also had their own fluctuations over the past few years.
What started out as the FIA GT Championship then split into the GT1 World Championship, GT3 European Championship and GT4 European Cup. The classes are set to rejoin next year, though, as the SRO which organizes them on the FIA's behalf has announced the formation of the new FIA GT World Championship.
Rather than have a variety of cars competing in different classes, SRO and the FIA are working to equalize the performance of existing cars to have them all fighting for the same prize. As a result, organizers are expecting a bigger grid. Teams representing Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini and Nissan are all expected to return from the current GT1 series, while talks are also underway to bring Mercedes-Benz, Alpina and Chevrolet teams to the grid. With all these challengers lining up, we'd be surprised not to see any Porsches jumping in, too.
The series is expected to return to circuits across Europe, Asia and South America next season, however discussions are underway to expand to such locations as Australia, Russia and even North America in the near future.
So what's the difference between the reformatted FIA GT Championship and the new FIA World Endurance Championship also starting next year? In two words, race length. While the latter will go with the ACO's format of round-the-clock racing, the former will stick with the current series' one-hour sprint-race format.