NEW LICENCE RULE TO GOVERN POWER
Drivers will need licence upgrades to race high-powered machines
A new rule from the MSA will require drivers to have a National A licence if they race a sportscar with a high power-to-weight ratio.
From 2017, drivers of cars with a power-to-weight ratio of 0.34bhp/kg will need to have the licence, except for those in single-seaters. This will affect all GT3 cars and the majority of ‘Cup’spec GT machines but most GT4 cars will escape the censure.
A spokesman for governing body, the Motor Sports Association, said: “This is a new safety regulation to help ensure the competence of drivers competing in cars with a higher power-to-weight ratio. The ratio of 0.34bhp/kg is derived from FIA regulations and should only affect a relatively small number of competition cars in domestic UK motorsport.”
The new rule will have no impact on British GT as all drivers need international licences, but some club championships will be affected.
The GT Cup Championship caters for largely amateur drivers with powerful sportscars. Series technical director Phil Boland said: “I can’t see the change affecting us that much. I lobbied quite hard with the MSA a few years ago to allow National B holders into our championship. While the change would effectively rule those drivers out of three of our four classes, we still have the lower class to cater for them and as long as we have somewhere to offer then we shouldn’t miss out.
“I can see it being an issue for the guys who have gone out and bought a Porsche 911 Carrera Cup car or similar for track days and they now won’t be able to race it until they have upgraded their licence, but there are many options to upgrade a licence.
“To be honest it’s good from a safety point of view as the closing speeds with the faster cars can be quite frightening if you don’t know what you’re doing. GT4 is a better starting point for amateurs, and most of those cars come in under the limitation.”
Britcar’s Claire Hedley welcomed the move: “This is something we’ve been trying to put in place. We have a rule that if you qualify you will have to start the car, so the novices wouldn’t be in the car at the start. We think it’s a great idea from the MSA and we’re supportive of it. You could have someone with just trackday experience starting on pole position and there could be such a difference in speed.”
Sports prototypes could also be hit by the rule change. The BRSCC’S Open Sportscar Series runs a variety of cars, but currently recommends that drivers in its top class have a National A licence.