“SRO has plans – don’t write off GT3 yet”
Will it? Won’t it? Does anybody even care anymore?
Those questions will be hanging over the future of GT3 racing in Britain over the winter. The simple answer is: yes it will, and yes people do.
The rise of GT4 racing in British GT has left a shadow over the GT3 division. It’s no secret that the class has struggled this year, with numbers falling into the low teens, almost half the numbers we enjoyed in recent seasons.
The GT4 entry has overtaken it purely by means of cost. A season in GT4 can be done for under £100,000, making it just under half of the cost of a headline GT3 campaign.
Then there’s the issue of where that £250,000 plus to do GT3 actually comes from.
Usually it’s the well-funded gentleman drivers that foot the bill, paying the team and their professional driver, without whom they surely wouldn’t stand a chance of winning.
That’s a seriously expensive year of racing, and has hurt the appeal of GT3 in Britain, especially for the reasonably funded gents with a GT3 in the garage that the class formerly thrived upon. They look in and see international and world-class drivers in seats and big budgets flying around and choose to race elsewhere.
Therein lies the problem. But therein also lies the solution to it.
Series organiser SRO is hard at work on new plans to help open GT3 up again, to be able to include those drivers who feel ill-equipped or even inadequate in the grand scheme of things.
The first step of recovery is recognition. SRO knows there’s an issue. It’s not blindly ignoring the signs and sitting back waiting for the phone to ring and things to get better.
Work is already well underway to rejuvenate GT3, with 15 cars the minimum target for next year. Speak to any top GT3 team and you’ll get an air of optimism about the 2017 campaign, not a pre-empted eulogy.
After every British GT round this year I’ve seen social media chatter from people saying GT3 is dead in Britain, that it’s ‘inevitable’ British GT will be all-gt4 as early as next year.
Will GT3 die? Yes, probably – much like GT1 did, and GT2 did, and multiple other forms of sportscar racing did before those. But they all laid foundations and evolved into what we have at the moment. GT4 could well become the new topflight British class, but it won’t be a step change like some predict.
GT3 isn’t dead in Europe, far from it, so therefore there will always be a desire to race those cars domestically also. Manufacturers will continue to sell GT3 cars, and people will buy them and want to race at a level they feel comfortable.
Pro-am racing has proven incredibly popular for British GT, but when that prices itself out there are alternatives. SRO know that, and so do the teams, and it’s good to see everybody pulling together. British GT has the prestige and appeal to draw teams and cars back in, should the right structure be found.
GT3 isn’t dead in Britain just yet.