“Would losing GT3 be a total disaster?”
So it’s come to this, but is it time to panic? Not quite.
Yes, the British GT3 grid may only be barely reaching double figures for the next round at Snetterton, but is that such a catastrophe? Is it a sign that GT3 racing in Britain is slowly dying?
There are arguments both ways as to what the future holds for GT3 at British championship level. But let’s not go jumping to conclusions. Beechdean is out due to circumstances beyond its control – a nasty hit at Spa saw to that – and Optimum is on the brink purely because its season hasn’t quite gone to plan. Neither of those factors have bearing on either team’s thoughts on the championship. Both are staunch supporters of British GT, and believe that if you want to race sportscars, the series is one of the highest levels in Europe.
They’ll be back, of that I have little doubt, but the fact their absence is quite so keenly felt does raise some other issues.
I love GT3, but you can see difficulties in its future. Budgets have skyrocketed in recent years due to the level of competition and profile being raised. Teams now employ more people, do more testing and use more consumables. All of which just adds to the financial forecast.
There could come a time when British GT can no longer sustain GT3. The signs are already there with the shift in interest to the lower-cost GT4 category, which is now the most popular in terms of entries.
The teams have seen this too, and have elected a teams’ association in an effort to try and lure back GT3 numbers. It’s a good move and shows solidarity, but can it prove the difference?
Plus, would it be such a drama if GT3 were to be phased out of British GT altogether?
Yes the cars are spectacular, but let’s not forget when GT3 was introduced it played second fiddle to GT2. How many of us can honestly say the current crop of GT3 cars raises the hairs on the back of your neck quite like the TVR Speed 12, Lister Storm or Dodge Viper GTS did?
But GT2 died out over cost, and then GT3 reigned supreme. Could we be seeing the same cycling of classes now, with GT4 the natural successor?
Don’t be so fast to judge. Look at the new crop of GT4S. Mclaren 570S GT4 wouldn’t be far off GT3 pace without its restrictors, Porsche’s Cayman GT4 will be a weapon when it’s finally a full-fat GT4 car and Audi and Mercedes are both known to be eyeing new customer cars for the category.
If GT3 fades away, GT4 will take centre stage, and is that such a bad thing? GT racing is about drama on one hand, but it’s also about great racing, and GT4 has that. Formula Ford 1600s don’t breathe fire but produce superb racing, so retain popularity.
Once again, I truly hope GT3 racing in Britain survives and thrives. But it’s not the end of the British GT if it doesn’t.
Before GT3 we had monstrous TVRS, like Speed 12