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GT Convergence Called Off

GTE, GT3 to continue as separate classes for foreseeable future..

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

After more than two years of meetings, with the target of developing a common set of base regulations to be used worldwide, GT convergence talks have been called off.

Multiple manufacturer sources have confirmed to Sportscar365 that the FIA and ACO’s proposed new set of rules, which was set to be approved at next month’s World Motor Sport Council meeting and to be used beginning in 2016, has been nixed in favor of continuing with the separate GTE and GT3 platforms for the foreseeable future.

The reversal apparently stems over a discrepancy with the types of air restrictors that were to be used for the earmarked GT+ and GT classes.

It’s understood the FIA proposed a new torque sensor “accelerator” method, while many of the current GTE manufactures were instead in favor of remaining with a sonic air restrictor.

A decision to continue with the current formula was handed down late last week following a vote from the manufacturers.

While the majority of manufacturers were in favor of a single GT platform, SRO founder and President Stephane Ratel had declared he remained 100 percent committed to the GT3 formula, which could have additionally complicated matters, if his series was not to adopt the new regulations.

The concept for the proposed GT+/GT regulations centered on a common, manufacturer-specific chassis and base components between the two classes.

GT+, which was to replace GTE-Pro/GTLM, was to feature further mechanical and aero upgrades over the GT class cars, which were to be reserved for privateers and replace the GT3 platform.

No immediate changes are expected to be made to the current GTE and GT3 formulas, although an additional manufacturers meeting is scheduled for June 6, which could reveal further details on future plans.

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

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. rick

    May 19, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    A VW-based, 5000 lb Bentley shouldn’t be allowed in a true GT class.

    • Brad

      May 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm

      Pretty sure a Bentley is a full on GT car… You should probably look up the definition of GT really.

  2. 90s

    May 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    sports car racing died a long time ago

    • Travis

      May 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Troll fail.

  3. JAGLeMans

    May 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Appears less of an issue than it once was, given GT3 cars have already been adopted as the secondary GT class in the ELMS & TUSCC. Meanwhile, in the AsLMS GTE/GT3/GT300 run together in an all encompassing GT class.

    • TJ

      May 19, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      They run in separate classes on the same track and gt300 are GT3 cars just limited to 300 HP.

      • JAGLeMans

        May 19, 2014 at 7:47 pm

        For the coming AsLMS season all the GT’s compete in a single class to simplify matters.

        Pure GT300’s are special builds like the Toyota Prius, these are limited to 300bhp. In Super GT, GT3’s can also compete in “GT300”, but they run to near full FIA spec, and have 500bhp+.

        • TJ

          May 19, 2014 at 11:04 pm

          With only a hand full of entries that makes sense but if they get more they will separate them again. AsLMS shouldn’t really be looked at right now. It wouldn’t be the first time there was a boom followed by a bust in GT racing in Asia.

  4. John

    May 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    So instead of having GT3/GTLM we would have GT/GT+. I must be missing why this would be a big deal.

    Funny that the FIA was trying to push a needlessly complex “upgrade” on the manufacturers and that’s what ultimately killed talks. Is there such a thing as a good sanctioning body?

    • Bakkster

      May 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      The point would have been sharing the same chassis across GT and GT+. Most notably, making it cheaper for current GT3 manufacturers to build versions that could compete in the WEC and at Le Mans.

    • Pedro

      May 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      The big deal is that nowadays the GTE and GT3 have little much in common, the exceptions being Ferrari F458 and BMW Z4 (which isn’t really a GTE car).
      Having GT and GT+ cars would mean that a team could have a GT car to run on national series, BES or GTD at TUSCC and with some modifications which could be easily made at their shops transform it on a GT+ and race at Le Mans, ELMS or GTLM at TUSCC.
      That would have a lot more revenue to teams and increase the numbers on the grids

      • Anthony Thomas (@djfourmoney)

        May 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

        As I have been saying for awhile now. The fans and the teams have almost no skin in the game.

        I agree being able to switch back and forth between specifications would mean more chances to run the car in various series and meaning the purchase of maybe two chassis and enough spares to repair the car in either configuration.

        There would be much less complications with the fan base, not that their was one that I saw.

        The balk here was the OEM’s favored sonic restrictors because like the carb plate used by NASCAR eventually dyno’s running 24/7 back in Germany, Italia, Japan, GB or the US would eventually find all that power back.

        With torque sensing, going with large displacement engines to make up the sonic restrictions would no longer be an option.

        So all new engines would need to be constructed… I can sort of understand the OEM’s position if they are building these cars.

        But that’s where this needs to go. We need to OEM’s to leverage their considerable resources in manufacturing to build these cars and let the teams do what is best which is run them and develop them with the help of the OEM’s.

        Its too expensive for the average team to build its own race car.

  5. Ernie2492

    May 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    So we’re back at the time when Group C was forced to use F1 engine…

    • wirelesscord

      May 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      That’s a completely failed analogy.

  6. Jason

    May 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I assume this won’t affect TUSK too much. Although I think they should still for 2015 allow GTD cars to carry GT3 spec real wings and allow ABS/TC. That is something you still give to the Porsche GT Americas I think.

    Maybe the good thing is that this could allow manufacturers to get back into making pure GTE cars again after waiting for 2 years or so for this. For the past 3 yeras GTE has had just six makes: Corvette, Viper, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and BMW. Lets have that list grow again. I’m am looking at you: McLaren, Mercedes, and Audi

    • Bakkster

      May 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      I think IMSA is less likely to allow full GT3 than they would have been if there had been a global convergence designed to maintain a class gap. Same with additional GTE manufacturers, while McLaren has exhibited interest in getting back to Le Mans, I think Audi and Merc are less likely without convergence.

  7. Matt

    May 19, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I am much more interested in the GTE cars, considering that GT3 doesn’t inspire any sort of innovation since all the cars are equalized in the long run anyway. Also, there wouldn’t be as much variety with the convergence so I’d rather GTE and GT3 stay separate.

  8. morningview66

    May 19, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    The issue i see with this is that there are certain manufacturers such as McLaren, Honda and Bentley wanting to launch a Le Mans GT programme.

    It is less likely with rules uncertainty on how long GTE will be around that they will commit to building new cars. Especially with the relatively small GTE market.

    While GT3 is strong GTE appears to have somewhat stagnated (outside the USA at least) and this may continue further without new manufacturers committing.

    • JAGLeMans

      May 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      By its nature, GTE is unlikely to have more than half a dozen manufacturers at any one time. It’s a major commitment to be competitive in the class.

      GT3, that’s a case of building a car from a blank sheet of paper to hit a target lap time. Short on power, add a larger engine, lack downforce, use a more substantial aero package….and so on. It’s a less complex technical challenge, therefore cheaper (though costs have risen dramatically).

      It’s true to say many GT3’s have been homolgated, but in reality only a half dozen chassis are competitive/supported at any one time.

      Convergence or not, I do expect GTE to have a revision of sorts, particularly to cut costs, and address how the new breed of hybrid road cars can be accommodated.

      • Jack

        May 20, 2014 at 12:33 am

        Nobody wants to see hybrid road cars being accommodated for. I’m sure everybody has learned the lesson from F1 that racing fans don’t actually want to see some quiet, boring hybrid cars. That can be left on the street and serves no entertainment purpose.

        • wirelesscord

          May 20, 2014 at 4:05 am

          Do you actually even know what is a hybrid car? Any car that uses two disticnt power sources is a hybrid car, such as LaFerrari, and being a hybrid has nothing to do with turbocharging, if that’s why you were referring to F1.

          • Doug

            May 20, 2014 at 5:23 pm

            While those hyper-cars are very cool, the cost to race them would be even higher and Ferrari and Porsche already have other big money racing programs. You would have to absolutely neuter the cars as well or really speed up the class and they don’t want that. Driving fast is for prototypes in their hierarchy.

        • Charlie

          May 20, 2014 at 6:07 am

          you think all hybrids are quiet. You obviously haven’t heard the toyota TS040 then. That is the best noise in modern Motorsport.

          • JAGLeMans

            May 20, 2014 at 9:32 am

            Within 5 years practically every road car will be a hybrid. It’s even more relevant for high performance cars as they need hybrid assistance to pass the new emissions & fuel milage regulations.

          • Dt

            May 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm

            Hybrid sales are falling. Most people don’t think the bump in mpg is worth the extra costs.

  9. AllardJ2X

    May 19, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    It doesn’t really help when there are two different GT specs for the manufacturers to make cars for, thus they have to pick one or the other, and the GT3 spec makes sense because the manufacturers can sell these cars to customers without having to develop a separate engine/chassis package for it compared to their road offerings.

    The GT+/GT rules should have happened, except somewhere in the talks, the FIA started to make the rules more complicated and ridiculous ( like everything else they touch) with their torque sensor, and from there the manufacturers stopped having interest in the new GT formula. What they should do is leave the GT3 formula as it is, and expand on it using a more open, less homologated version of the GT3 regulations that allow for more development, more horsepower, and faster cars for the factory and professional teams to tinker around with compared to the turn-key GT3 packages for pro-am and amateur teams.

    • JAGLeMans

      May 19, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      The issue GTE manufacturers themselves have with GT3,is it being too open. In fact there no technical rules to speak of beyond a few basics like safety.

      That can work when you’re supplying a customer package, but it can escalate into a spending war when direct factory teams try to find a competitive edge.

      • AllardJ2X

        May 19, 2014 at 8:43 pm

        True, there are few technical regulations in GT3 and the cars are already performance tampered with in their homologations with the air restrictions and weights. To be honest, even if there are more strict technical regulations, what is to stop the manufacturers from exploiting any areas where they can develop the cars without limitation. The FIA tried that in F1 and that has not stopped the 9 figure budgets. Any limitations for a new premier GTE class based off an expansion of the GT3 formula would be taking the homologation and homologation any new upgrades after every couple of races instead of every couple of years, and possibly use a displacement to weight table for performance balancing instead of tampering with each car in order to allow engine development, especially if they want to have a performance increase.

  10. Wolws6

    May 19, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    This series may have solved this problem already. BOP all specs International GT OPEN 2014 Round 1 GERMANY – NURB…: http://youtu.be/MQ3mYX-fUs4

  11. Jack

    May 20, 2014 at 12:35 am

    I’d really like to see engine development back in GT cars.

  12. Pete Braun

    May 20, 2014 at 3:31 am

    This Pro-Am format is a joke in endurance racing. Especially at the big European races. Every year at Le Mans since the GTE class was created with its Pro-Am format, a GTE car has been involved in at least 1 major accident in one way or another. We never had that problem with the GT1/GT2 format. That one needs to come back. There’s a handful of cars that would be great for a GT1 revival. Here’s some that I think would be excellent:

    Aston Martin DBS or V12 Vantage
    Audi R8 5.2 (the V10 version like in GT3, but with more power and less weight)
    Chevrolet Corvette (more power and less weight than its GTE/GTLM counterpart)
    Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
    Lamborghini Aventador
    McLaren MP4-12C (more power and less weight than its GT3 counterpart)
    Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (more power and less weight than its GT3 counterpart)
    SRT Viper GTS (more power and less weight than its GTE/GTLM counterpart)

  13. Raphael

    May 20, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Maybe Le Mans should take a hint from the TUSCC. For the GTE-am class to instead use the GT3 class for future races while the professional teams will still utilize the GTE pro class.

    • Dave

      May 21, 2014 at 1:31 am

      Agreed I like the Tudor model.

  14. mimi69

    May 23, 2014 at 4:55 am

    Best thing that could have happened. Right now there is a working concept in the world and that is GT3. Just about every country in the world has a series that has adopted the GT3 formula. Most are healthy with good car counts. Why would SRO want to throw out something that works just because ONE organization has chosen not to adopt the formula. Could you imagine what it would be like if the ACO would get off their high horse and join the rest of the world and adopt the GT3 formula? You would be able to run Dubia, Daytona, Lemans and Spa with a single car and at most only make minor modifications. Right now USCR, Pirelli World Challenge, Blancpain, Super GT, and the 24H Series and some 18 other series are all on board. With the ACO and Leamns being the only major hold out. There are over 20 series and around 35 different cars in GT3.

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