SRO Motorsports Group and Blancpain unveil historic agreement

SRO Motorsports Group (SRO), promoters of the new FIA GT1 World Championship and Blancpain watches today announced that they had reached an agreement which will see the prestigious Swiss watch brand become the exclusive and Official Timing Partner for the new FIA GT1 World Championship.

The agreement will see the Blancpain brand receive live exposure on all live feeds including on TV feeds around the world. Blancpain will also receive track-side exposure at all rounds of the new world championship. The agreement marks the first time in Blancpain's 275 year history that the brand has an official association with a world class motorsport event. To celebrate the agreement, the world oldest watchmaker will design and create a limited edition timepiece dedicated to mechanical passion.

The FIA GT1 World Championship will visit 10 countries on four continents and will feature iconic marques such as Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, Lamborghini, Maserati and Nissan.

The 2010 Championship starts at the futuristic Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on April 17 and ends at the spectacular circuit built around a volcanic lake in San Luis circuit in Argentina on December 5.

CEO of SRO, Stephane Ratel said: “We are very happy to welcome Blancpain to the FIA GT1 World Championship fold. They are a perfect strategic fit with their emphasis on hand-crafted quality, stunning design and accuracy. For a brand new world championship we are naturally thrilled that a brand that enjoys a 275 year history will join with us as we set out on what we are all sure will be a hugely exciting first season of racing and a fantastic journey beyond that.”
CEO of Blancpain, Marc A. Hayek adds: “Blancpain has always had an absolute commitment to quality and as a company we can see that this new challenge as a fantastic opportunity to take our core messages to a world-wide public who are also passionate about quality. When you see the line-up of cars in the paddock, everything about it says quality. It is an environment that suits Blancpain down to the ground; great design, quality, tradition, speed, passion, accuracy and pushing forwards to new frontiers. We are very happy to be here.”

About Blancpain
For the first time in its history, the watch manufacturer Blancpain will be associated with a world class motorsport championship, becoming the exclusive and official timing partner of the FIA GT1 World Championship.
Through this prestigious partnership. Blancpain, the creator of exceptional timepieces and designers of mechanical passion, confirms its presence at the highest level of world motorsport. The timing of a world class championship is a fantastic challenge for the world oldest watch manufacturer, but Blancpain will be able to draw upon years of experience and precision to time the 12 teams who will all be racing for victory in the 2010 Championship.
Since 1735, using the words 'tradition' and 'innovation' to describe the Blancpain philosophy is not a contradiction in terms. On the contrary, the two are inextricably entwined at the very heart of the brand's history. Far from factory production lines, just as watches were made two centuries ago, all the moving parts are finished, decorated and assembled by hand, in keeping with the noblest watch-making traditions. Celebrating its 275th Anniversary this year and more determined that ever to consistently improve its watches and to conquer whole new horizons, the manufacturer has always aimed to take watchmaking to places that it has never been before.

About the FIA GT1 World Championship
The FIA GT1 World Championship is only the fourth fully FIA-sanctioned world motorsport series alongside Formula One, World Rally Championship and the World Touring Car Championship.
The championship starts at the futuristic Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi and then visits some of Europe’s classic grand prix circuits including Silverstone, Spa Francorchamps and Nurburgring and also includes a street race in Durban, South Africa. The season concludes with two South American rounds in Interlagos, Brazil and the spectacular San Luis, Argentina.

SRO Motorsports Group specializes in the promotion and organization of motorsport series. Although primarily concerned with GT racing, with whose revival in the 1990’s SRO was inextricably linked, SRO also promotes multi-platform events, such as the FFSA Super Série and the British F3-GT Series. SRO has offices in London, Paris, Belgium and Germany, as well as a partnership in Latin America.

SRO promotes nine championships and series, including the FIA GT1 World Championship, the FIA GT2 European Cup, the FIA GT3 European Championship, the GT4 European Cup, the FFSA French GT Championship, the British GT
Championship, the British F3 International Series, the ADAC GT Masters, and the GT 90’s Revival Series. SRO is also a partner in the Le Mans Series and the Brazilian GT3 Championship and has franchise agreements with the Belcar and the Dutch GT4 Championship.

SRO is chaired by Stephane Ratel, working with a growing team of full-time staff and freelancers worldwide, and with the support of the FIA and numerous other national sporting authorities and sanctioning bodies.

For additional information on Blancpain in the FIA GT1 World Championship please contact Jean-Charles Zufferey - Head of Public Relations - on +41 21 796 36 36