ROB LAD­BROOK

“There’s a pool of semi-pro driv­ers out there”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - AGREE/DIS­AGREE? mn.let­ters@hay­mar­ket.com

Iwrote last week that the first step to re­cov­ery is recog­ni­tion. To the left you can read step two of the road map to save GT3 rac­ing in Britain. And it re­volves around some very solid ideas. Sure, new sub-classes may not sound like the dras­tic step-change some had called for, but was a dras­tic step-change re­ally needed?

GT3 is still a global for­mula. If you own a car, the­o­ret­i­cally, you could race it on any given week­end some­where in the world. That’s not changed. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are still sell­ing cars in vol­ume, and peo­ple still want to race As­ton Martins, Fer­raris, BMWS, Bent­leys and such.

With GT3 now such big busi­ness, there is de­mand to race at var­i­ous lev­els – top to bot­tom – and what SRO is try­ing to do is en­sure that Bri­tish GT re­mains the go-to place in Britain for that.

Bri­tish GT has lost out in re­cent years by be­com­ing al­most a vic­tim of its own suc­cess. The ar­rival of fac­tory blessed teams and world-class driv­ers has pushed the level of com­pe­ti­tion higher than it’s ever been be­fore. That’s both a great thing for the spec­ta­cle and pres­tige of the se­ries, but also a bad thing for its im­age to prospec­tive cus­tomers.

To win in Bri­tish GT you needed a larger wal­let than ever be­fore, and the ex­tra to hire the fastest fac­tory driver around. That’s not ac­ces­si­ble rac­ing, that’s more like Euro­pean or world cham­pi­onship stuff. It’s not a for­mat that suits do­mes­tic rac­ing.

The ar­rival of the new classes are ex­cit­ing in many ways. Firstly there’s a fresh wave of funded semi-pro driv­ers out there. Grad­u­ates from the Porsche Car­rera Cup, GT Cup, Ginetta GT4 Su­per­cup and even sin­gle-seater classes like the BRDC Bri­tish For­mula 3 Cham­pi­onship or Bri­tish F4 Cham­pi­onship. Chances are that the ma­jor­ity of ca­reer-fo­cused driv­ers on those grids have worked out if they want a fac­tory ride at some point, sportscars is the way for­ward.

Prob­lem is get­ting a foothold in GTS. GT4 has al­ways been the start­ing point, as it should be, but where then? Es­pe­cially when the well-funded gents al­ready have the Jonny Adams, Rob Bells, Phil Keens and Alexan­der Sims of this world?

Giv­ing pay­ing Sil­ver-bronze pair­ings a place to race opens a new door. And the re­mod­elling of the all-am­a­teur Bronze class is good too. I’ve al­ready heard mum­blings over the 1.5 x scor­ing rule for them, but why not?

All-bronze pair­ings are the most cost-ef­fec­tive way to en­ter GT3, and they were what the cat­e­gory was built on – cus­tomer rac­ing.

Re­al­is­ti­cally, two Bronze driv­ers don’t stand a chance of beat­ing a paid-up works op­er­a­tion out­right. Fin­ish­ing sixth would be a win for some, so why shouldn’t that be re­warded as such?

What’s the point of rac­ing if you stand no chance of ever win­ning?

With this sys­tem gents get a chance to fight for their own tro­phy, and stay in the game for the over­all cham­pi­onship via a hand­i­cap sys­tem. Hope­fully it will cre­ate a more even play­ing field, one that can bol­ster in­ter­est and bring the GT3 num­bers back.

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