NEW GT3 FORMAT TO LURE CARS OUT
British GT organiser SRO has unveiled a range of changes to the championship structure aimed at widening the appeal of the GT3 class for both amateur and semi-professional drivers.
SRO will introduce a new Silver-bronze category to the top-flight GT3 division in an attempt to lure younger semi-pro drivers into the championship, and will also offer greater rewards to all amateur Bronze-Bronze teams.
The moves have been made in an effort to boost interest in the GT3 category, which has suffered from a loss of entries this season, dropping to a six-year low of 11 cars for the season finale at Donington Park recently.
While numbers have grown rapidly in the lower-cost GT4 division, SRO is keen to retain the global GT3 formula as the top tier of the British championship. It has worked with the series’ new teams’ association to find ways of drawing drivers back to GT3 racing.
The new Silver-bronze category is aimed at opening the class to lesser-funded amateurs and aspiring professional drivers, such as those graduating into GTS from junior single-seater series. Currently British GT’S Pro-am format is skewed toward well-funded amateur drivers paying to share with factory drivers, who in large do not contribute to the budget.
Alongside this, there has been a drive toward attracting more amateurs with a repackaged Bronze-bronze class. This is aimed at drivers in series such as the GT Cup or Britcar.
These pairings will fight for their own trophy each weekend, and will score 1.5 x points toward the overall championship if they finish inside the overall top 10 in races.
The mandated driving time for amateur drivers will also increase across all classes. Ams must now do an extra 10-minutes during races, with the pit window for two-hour events now opening at 60 minutes, not 50.
British GT Championship manager Benjamin Franassovici said: “Clearly British GT3 has become incredibly competitive. The Pro class is also operating at an incredibly high level thanks to several factory drivers plying their trade with us. But while this is something we’re proud of and have no intention of restricting, it’s also an area that SRO and our teams have identified as a potential stumbling block for new drivers.
“We’ve worked hard with our teams and drivers on rectifying this and, in terms of co-operation and understanding, I don’t think the organiser and teams have ever enjoyed a better relationship. All are committed to making a thriving GT3 class.
“These changes give amateurs and young professionals a chance to measure themselves against the benchmark drivers, learn their craft and have something to show for it at the end of the year.
“I’m confident this will have a positive impact, and domestically GT3 will be in good shape next year. The goal is at least 15 cars.”
Donington was lowest GT3 grid since 2010