QUEST FOR A ONE-CLASS FUTURE
had moved over to GT3 regulations, while
Ratel has made use of the class he created in
his attempts to revive his made-for-TV sprint
format, whose star briefly shone in the guise
of 2010-’ 11’s FIA GT1 World Championship.
The championship, now known as the
Blancpain Sprint Series, is all about pro
teams and pro drivers fighting over a
100,000 euro ($135,700) prize fund.
The FIA and the ACO set up a
convergence working group to progress
its ideas, initially with a goal of finalizing
new rules in the summer of 2013 for
introduction in ’ 15. The group included all
the manufacturers on both sides of the
GTE/GT3 divide. Quickly the plan shifted
away from one class to two sub-classes.
Manufacturers would build a car to run in
a lower class that would replace GT3, but
then homologate a kit to allow it to run in
a higher division that replaced GTE. This
quickly became known as GT and GT+.
The idea, initially, was for the kit to include
a high-downforce aero package and a
more powerful race-developed engine
with performance controlled by sonic
air-restrictors, as per GTE. The GT class
contenders, like many existing GT3 cars,
would be powered by near-standard engines.
The problem was that manufacturers
solely involved in GT3 didn’t want the
expense of making high-compression racing
engines, while the car makers who had them
already were unwilling to give them up.
The prospect of the rules coming together
without any of the GT3-only makes being
willing to move up to GT+ seemed real.
The FIA tried to resolve the impasse by
coming up with the idea of accelerometers
or torque sensors. They would be fitted to
each car to measure performance and the
data they provided would then be used to
match the speeds of the different cars.
The GTE manufacturers, essentially the
same quartet of Aston Martin, Chevrolet,
Ferrari and Porsche who derailed Ratel’s
idea to come up with a new GT1 class at
the end of the 2000s, still weren’t happy.
Uniquely, the TUDOR United
runs both GTE and GT3
cars, as GT Le Mans and GT
Daytona, respectively. In its
original guise, the one-class
ethos of GT convergence
would have retained the
best of both worlds.
Fehan says sonic
restrictors are an
effective element in
GT racing Balance