But the FIA and the ACO were working to
a tight deadline. Having already delayed
the introduction of the new classes until
2016, they wanted to announce their
masterplan at June’s 24 Hours of
Le Mans, which would allow time for
them to go through the necessary FIA
processes this year. At a meeting in May,
the chairman of the working group,
Christian Schacht, asked for a unanimous
acceptance of accelerometers in GT+ for
the convergence process to continue.
The GTE manufacturers felt they had a
gun to their head and rejected the plan, and
hence convergence came to an abrupt halt.
Porsche Motorsport boss Hartmut
Kristen wasn’t happy with what happened
at the final meeting, saying: “There were
so many questions with what they were
suggesting, but it was presented as a take
it or leave it proposal.”
Corvette Racing program manager
Doug Fehan points out that sonic
restrictors are one of the three major
tools, alongside weight and aerodynamics,
used in the BoP process. He suggests that
removing restrictors from the rule makers’
armory would have been foolhardy.
“You have to look from our perspective:
the simplicity of a sonic restrictor makes it
just the most cost-effective way of making
a BoP,” he explains. “It’s tried and tested
both in Europe and the U.S., and all the
manufacturers recognize that. The
technology that the FIA was talking about
for the future is TBD. It’s not plug and play.”
Everyone involved in the convergence
process appears to have been in favor of
the idea in principle, with the exception of
Ratel, of course. He suggests that
“common sense has prevailed.”
“GTE is double the price of GT3, and
convergence would have resulted in
something in the middle,” he says. “That
would have resulted in 50 percent on top
of the actual cost of GT3, and that would
have killed what we know today.”
The TUDOR Championship might
appear to have less to gain than the WEC
from convergence, given that it has no
fewer than six manufacturers competing
in GTLM, plus a strong field of GT3-based
cars in GTD. Yet Scot Elkins, rules boss at
USC sanctioning body IMSA, insists he
was in favor. And why wouldn’t he be? As
he says, “we’ve got six manufacturers in
GTLM, but sure we’d like eight or nine.”
For now, convergence is halted, but the
process might not have been a waste of
time. The ACO’s Beaumesnil insists “all the
work has not been done for nothing.” Much
of what was largely agreed on the chassis
side will go forward as a proposal for the
evolution of the GTE rules for 2016.
That could be one positive outcome
of the talks, but it shouldn’t be forgotten
that there has already been one
significant negative. McLaren, which
came into the GT3 category with its
MP4/12C in 2011, was some way down
the road with a GTE car when the FIA and
the ACO made their announcement.
Fact is, there would have been a
McLaren racing at Le Mans already, but for
the convergence talks. Food for thought...
GTLM’s biG six
Although 27 GTE
cars raced in this
year’s 24 Hours
of Le Mans, only
For most GTE
variety, the TUDOR
GT Le Mans class
gets the nod,
with five full-time
marques and a sixth
joining on occasion.
FERRARi 458 i TALiA
The car won the GTE Pro class at the
24 Hours of Le Mans and is raced in GTLM
by Risi Competizione and Krohn Racing.
As TON MARTiN VANTAGE V8
Not a full-timer, but Aston Martin Racing
does enter the marquee races when it can
– the Rolex 24 being its only outing so far.
PORsCHE 911 RsR
The return of factory 911s to U.S. GT
racing began in style with a GTLM win at
the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
bMW Z4 GTE
Second U.S. season for the nimble Z4
GTE, which doesn’t currently run in the
WEC. Its GT3 version also races in GTD.
DODGE ViPER GTs-R
After taking a win in its first full season
last year, 2014 for the Viper has produced
near-misses, but no GTLM wins just yet.
CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R
The successor to the mega-successful
C6.R is already a GTLM race winner, and
finished second in GTE Pro at Le Mans.
several manufacturers produce GTE and GT3
versions of the same car, including Dodge with
its Viper (AbOVE). in theory, GT convergence
would need just one base car to be produced.
restrictors in GTE limit
the maximum amount
of air going into the
Corvette Racing’s Ls7)
by choking airflow
when flow velocity hits
the speed of sound.