NEW GT3 FOR­MAT TO LURE CARS OUT

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey

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

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