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