TR3 Racing will not take part in this weekend’s pair of Pirelli World Challenge season-opening GT races due to a Balance of Performance dispute, with the Florida-based team contemplating its future in the Sprint series.
The Daniel Mancinelli-driven Ferrari 488 GT3, which did not qualify on Saturday morning, has been parked for the remainder of the event according to team owner Gregory Romanelli, who cites the 2018-spec car’s alleged performance disadvantage to the non-Evo form.
SRO has given the Ferrari Evo a 20-kg minimum weight increase over the 2017-spec model, which scored pole in the hands of Toni Vilander on Saturday morning.
TR3’s entry was the only Ferrari running the 2018 updates this weekend in St. Pete.
“From an non-Evo to an Evo, 20 kgs is two-tenths and a D-type circuit like this, those 20 kgs is massive and the aero change of what this kit does has no use here,” Romanelli told Sportscar365.
“Right off the bat, we were going to be uncompetitive; that’s not what we come here to do.
“We’re a privateer team; we came out here last year just to get our feet wet and we ended up doing the full season.
“We know what we’re capable of doing but we’re not going to come here to play games; we’re not going to come here and settle for second, third, fourth or fifth. We won’t race if we don’t have a chance to win.
“The car is spot-on and Daniel has trained hard during the off-season.
“But if the series and SRO is not going to allow us to win because they want to penalize us with 20 kg more, and remove those two-tenths, which in this series means a lot…
“Compared to our lap time yesterday, two-tenths would have put us seventh and that’s what not what we came here to do.”
TR3’s withdrawal leaves only an 11-car GT/GTA grid for this weekend’s pair of 50-minute Sprint races.
While having previously confirmed a full-season program with the No. 31 Ferrari, Romanelli said their plans are now likely to change.
He claims the SRO does not yet have sufficient data from the Evo kit, largely due to the recent snow-impacted BoP test at Paul Ricard last month.
“I’m not here to be a guinea pig to see how the BoP change, whether the kit is better or not, especially at a circuit like this, where aerodynamics don’t count,” Romanelli said. “It’s the driver and weight of the car.
“It’s very unfortunate and very upsetting from Pirelli World Challenge seeing how many cars they have this year.
“Unfortunately, we’ll most likely not be back for all the GT Sprint races.
“Our championship is already done by us missing this qualifying and not being able to start out where we are.”
Ratel Defends BoP Measures
SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel has defended his group’s BoP process, which is to keep all cars, new, old and with updates, on an equal playing field.
“You can’t force all the teams to run the new evolutions,” Ratel told Sportscar365.
“It’s what we said with the very concept of BoP. Why do you want to buy another, I don’t know, $50,000-100,000 kit, because you know you’re going to get weight. So just don’t spend the money; that’s the whole concept of BoP.
“On some cars, the teams don’t seem to be keen on getting the kit. You can’t just tell them, ‘Oh you bought a very nice car two years ago. You are now going to be three-tenths of a second behind because you didn’t buy the new kit.’
“This is not GT3 racing.”