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Ratel: GT3 Build Requirement “Essential” for Platform’s Future

Stephane Ratel insists FIA’s new minimum GT3 build requirement is essential for future…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Stephane Ratel says the FIA’s newly imposed manufacturer production requirement for GT3 cars is “essential” for the platform’s future, amid increased costs and recent limited production runs.

Under the new rule, each GT3 manufacturer is required to build at least ten race cars within the car’s first year of homologation, with 20 models needed to be produced within the first 24 months.

Ratel believes the build requirements will help encourage manufacturers to provide full customer support networks and not limit production to its so-called designated teams only.

“It’s essential,” Ratel told Sportscar365. “All of the series can die of over-professionalism.

“The sense of GT3 is customer racing. If you lose that, it’s over, especially when the FIA has an excellent category for manufacturer racing, and that’s GTE.

“If you only want to build six, eight cars, then do a GTE car. It’s not that much different these days. Then you can run in WEC and IMSA.

“But if you want to come to GT3 racing, you have to build your customer racing department, you’ve got to build 20 cars, you’re going to have support [them with] all that Audi and Mercedes and the others have done.

“That’s the game you have to play if you want to be in GT3 racing.”

Ratel said that all of the current GT3 manufacturers that have existing homologations have already met the criteria. 

The biggest exception had been Cadillac, which produced just three of its ATS-V.Rs, for use in Pirelli World Challenge, although its factory program has since come to an end.

“I can assure you we looked at numbers and they all produced [the minimum],” Ratel said.

“Even the first ones, [such as] the Aston Martin DBRS9, [chassis] 22 and 23 were the last two Astons produced. Bentley did 27 cars without the obligation. The first Nissan [GT-R NISMO GT3] did 22 or 23 cars.

“All the existing GT3 cars that have were homologated to date have done [the requirement] with the exception of one, and of the new homologation I won’t name, they’ve all done over 20 cars.”

Ratel indicated smaller-scale constructors such as Callaway would be exempt from the new rule as they fall under a “tuner homologation.”

“The rest of the cars have been built in significant numbers,” he said. “It has to continue like this because otherwise, it’s clear we’re back to GT1.

“Then you’ll have factory programs of two cars in Super GT, two cars in IMSA, two cars in ADAC or Blancpain, and that’s it, game over, which is not what we want.”

Small Manufacturers Still Welcome in GT4

Ratel said small constructors will continue to be embraced in GT4, with no production requirements to be established for low-volume producers such as KTM, SIN and Ginetta.

“In GT4 you have smaller constructors,” he said. “That’s the idea.

“You can’t tell SIN you need to build 20 cars. That’s what makes the difference. In GT4, we will continue to welcome the smaller constructors that come.”

Unlike GT3, which is sanctioned by the FIA, GT4 is regulated directly by the SRO, under national homologations from the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium.

“GT3 is mainly regulated by a roundtable of engineers,” Ratel said. “I’ve been around this table for 20 years since I’ve been part of the FIA commission meetings.

“At SRO we don’t have a commission. We have a single person who decides [in SRO technical director Claude Surmont].

“We had the scenario last year with an oil tank that was not [GT4 compliant]. Claude said, ‘No.’ A no is a no.

“You control any category in motorsport with the power of saying no. If you can’t [conform], then you can’t come.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. gm me

    March 13, 2018 at 9:14 am

    “Tuner Homologation” for Callaway. lol. Maybe you work with GM to build the Corvette GT3 much like you did Lamborghini to force Reiter out of the GT3 game. This way teams can get quality customer programs instead of what Callaway has now.

    • DEJ

      March 13, 2018 at 10:14 am

      Next up GT5 ,will need to build 10 only !

    • Andy Flinn

      March 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      “GM me” did you not read the article?

      GM’s GT3 commitment is non-existent because they’re simply not interested in building customer racecars. They probably never were.

      GM WAS practically the only GT3 manufacturer that never sold a car (Cadillac) to a customer.

      Currently, GM has no factory GT3 cars in PWC, IMSA GTD (GT3), or basically anywhere in GT3 in the world.

      So where does that leave us Corvette fans in GT3?

      Currently, it’s the Callaway Corvette or NOTHING.

      I’ll leave the nothing for the GM fans.

      • sickofgmfans

        March 13, 2018 at 2:56 pm

        You Corvette fans shouldn’t have anything to pull for.

        GM shouldn’t even exist and you keep on proudly proclaiming what a Corvette fan you are.

        The people that sell, buy, and root for GM have no principles, no scruples.

        And Callaway should not get an exception. It’s a cheap end-around.

        Other manufacturers can involve “tuners” and get around the build requirement.

        What a lame “exception”

        • Paul

          March 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm

          Well, seeing as Callaway was there at the inception of GT3 in 2005/2006, I don’t see how its beneficial to have one less brand in the category. GM NEVER supported GT3 (treated the Z06R GT3 as a black sheep when asked by anyone) and still doesn’t support the category. Only when they backed out, they had no logical reason to block the Vettes from North America.

          Also, Callaway has had a reputation with Vettes for over 25yrs. Why NOT build one? Only recently it was required to have the manufacture give its approval for a car to be built by a tuner. Especially if its a group that has proven the car is not only a race winner, but Title winner without the need of BOP advantages to achieve it. You must be an anti GM or Ford fan with that mentality………smh

        • Andy Flinn

          March 14, 2018 at 1:34 am

          Sick, how is the Callaway Corvette a “cheap end-around” and a “lame” exception?

          Callaway has been racing Corvettes for years.

          And where did I write that GM shouldn’t exist?

          It’s their GT3 racing program that doesn’t exist.

    • Brian

      March 13, 2018 at 2:33 pm

      Lol, I always laugh at comments like this. Do you honestly think GM would have a solid customer program installed if they built a Vette GT3? Look at their GTE cars as a perfect example. They literally have one….yes ONE PERSON to handle their customer cars (engineering wise). He literally flies everywhere and does the job of many.

      Camaro GT4 is no different. I’d rather have a passionate group like the Callaway outfit to run these. If someone produces the budget for their car, they will easily give them a title winning package. I’ll admit though, the USA outfit (separate from Germany) hasn’t started off with the best PR or structured appearance….but the car is dam good as seen last weekend.

  2. Matt

    March 13, 2018 at 10:39 am

    “In GT4 you have smaller constructors,” he said. “That’s the idea.

    “You can’t tell SIN you need to build 20 cars. That’s what makes the difference. In GT4, we will continue to welcome the smaller constructors that come.”

    Lol yeah, except the dumbasses at IMSA don’t understand GT4 racing is supposed to be cheap. They force teams to buy more expensive GT4 cars from big name manufacturers.
    I don’t get it- why doesn’t Ratel give each class of cars a cost cap?

    • N8

      March 13, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Good question, because cost caps have a pretty good history of actually capping costs. Wanna take a loss on a limited production GT3 run? Knock yourself out.

      What’s worse, seeing manufacturers driven out by escalating costs, or being driven out by minimums that only the largest players can in the category an achieve?

    • tracer

      March 13, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Market forces dictate the “cost cap”, doesn’t it? There’s a reason why one of the most well sorted GT4s from a major OEM hasn’t sold when others are flying off the shelves. It’s also hard to argue with IMSA’s approach when you look at this year’s CTSCC grid, which is undoubtedly one of the healthiest GT4 fields globally.

  3. Sol Shine

    March 13, 2018 at 11:17 am

    More stunned thinking from the group that is ruining GT racing. So force manufacturers to build a bunch of cars that no one will buy because they’re far too expensive for even the trust fund kiddies to run. Genius. It’s too bad that Ratel and SRO have become so ego inflated that they can’t see how poorly the GT3 platform is doing outside of Europe. Imsa has about 14 GT3 entries as does PWC. Nothing to be happy about there. Killing garage built race cars is just stupid thinking. And meanwhile, club racing with SCCA, NASA and the crap can sanctioning bodies is just burgeoning with entries. It’s about the money, stupid!

    • Sestom

      March 13, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      SuperGT Japan = 25 GT3
      Blancpain GT Asia = 15 – 25 GT3
      Australian GT = 20 GT3

      Blancpain Endurance = +50 GT3
      Blancpain Sprint = +30 GT3
      Blancpain Sport Club = +20 GT3
      VLN = +30 GT3
      Open GT = +20 GT3
      ADAC GT Master = +30 GT3

      PWC = 12 GT3
      IMSA = 14 GT3

      How many GTE in the World ? 19 in WEC / 9 in USA / 6 in ELMS / 0 in Asia…

      • Andy Flinn

        March 13, 2018 at 1:02 pm

        Sestom, so the people in Europe are geniuses and the folks who run the sanctions in the US are schmucks is that it?

        Many of us here in the US knew that adopting overpriced factory Euro GT3s exclusively was NEVER going to be the perfect solution for our GT classes.

        Two more points:

        One, PWC’s GT grid decline coincides with involvement with (meddling from?) SRO in Europe.

        Genius!

        Two, the WEC – and its 19 GTE cars – has such a lousy presence and following in North America after the failures at CoTA that, instead of scheduling a round at Indy or even Montreal, the WEC chose to piggyback on the enduring success that is the IMSA 12 Hours of Sebring with a midnight race in 2019.

        Genius!

        By the way, there are 18 – not 14 – GT3s on the entry list for Sebring. That’s almost as many as the more expensive GTEs (19) in the WEC.

        Genius!

        • Sestom

          March 13, 2018 at 3:11 pm

          The GTE is a stupid category : 500k – 1 million $ cars with BOP and the same performance of GT3 (Fuji : GTE WEC with confidential tire = 1’37’’546 / GT3 Japan GT with SRO BOP and confidential tire = 1’35’’707). What is the interest and the added value ? Where are the private team with GTE in USA ?

          Why more GT3 in Australia, Japan and Asia compared to USA and much much more in Europe (+200 GT3) ?

    • Barber

      March 13, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      How can Ratel be ruining GT racing when he created it?

      • Andy Flinn

        March 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm

        … just like that VP who “created” the Internet.

        Ratel does deserve massive credit for reorganizing GT racing beginning back in the ’90s. (He probably wouldn’t claim he created it.) I also like that post GM ban, he, PWC and IMSA have carved out a deserving exception for the Callaway Corvette.

  4. kv

    March 13, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    WITH all this gt turmoil,isee a Corvette c8 gte /prototype,very FORD GT ish,built raced and sold by pratt/miller!

    • Andy Flinn

      March 13, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      …raced exclusively by the factory and never sold to any customers.

      What does that have to do with GT3 or GT4?

  5. daedalus

    March 13, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    I’m glad they are making exceptions for “tuner” cars. Forcing manufactures to focus on customer racing is what the DNA of GT3 has always been.

    There is still the question of value for money in GT racing. These days the competition to GT racing comes from prototype racing. Allot of former GT teams have switched to LMP2 and LMP3 as the cost is capped and they can go faster with lower running costs compared to GT3. Even the radicals offer more bang for ur buck in terms of laptime for radical Sr8/sr3 compared to GT3/GT4 respectively.

  6. Guest

    March 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    How about clamping down on GT4, which has already gotten out of control? Mercedes, Audi, Mclaren all rising costs with their supercars. Ironically now a Mustang or Camaro costs more (over a quarter million).

    Then they have IMSA who wants to use the formula, but pick and choose who is allowed, on top of requiring a manufacturer fee (which they also do with GT3). SRO needs to put it’s foot down, you either adopt the full class with no running restrictions or you don’t.

  7. Andy Flinn

    March 14, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Guest, uh, no.

    The IMSA manufacturer fee is to prevent manufacturers (McLaren and Bentley for two examples), who have no interest in contesting the full IMSA GTD championship, from attempting to cherry pick GTD victories at Daytona or Sebring.

    The manufacturers who are actually SERIOUS about building and selling GT3 cars for IMSA GTD don’t have trouble paying the manufacture fee.

    • Guest

      March 16, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      McLaren and Bentley would add value to Daytona and Sebring, Aston too. There is no proof that a customer wouldn’t run the full season. IMSA killed one of the most unique entries out there (Viper) because of the stupid fees.

      GT3 and GT4 are never going to be as popular in North America because of the silly rules and restrictions.

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