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    Possible ACO changes to GT format

    During the 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend, the ACO announced it was looking to cut costs in the GT2 class; bringing the racecars closer to production cars. It would seem the GT1 class is under the slashing costs radar too. The lack of participation in American Le Mans Series, Corvette Racing is the only GT1 team competing in this particular field with eleven GT2 teams running consistently, is reason for restructuring. Aston Martin is no longer in the ALMS because of funding issues and concerned about the rules. An Oreca-prepped Saleen S7R is said to be racing soon but with each passing event it seems unlikely and if does race in America it probably is for one race.

    Eleven GT2 teams is not bad but the Le Mans Series, European version of the ALMS, regularly fields up to twenty teams on any given race day, which is the goal of the US should be producing. The European side of sports car racing is much healthier than North America, but the fact is spiraling costs is effecting ALMS and can eventually catch up with teams in the LMS, as it is only in its fourth season. So what do ruling bodies do to cut costs? The cars are always first to be analyzed.

    Almost a month ago I posted a article stating, "The ACO has also mooted a cost-cutting move in GT2, bringing the class closer to the road-going models that provide the base for competition cars. The use of a factory engine and a reduction in onboard electronics are being targeted as the main means of reducing engineering costs." Those statements did not hit me until mid-lastweek while reading a post about this very issue at the ALMS forums but I will get back to this.

    When a Corvette Z06 is featured in a magazine what other cars are usually compared? The Porsche 911 GT3 and Ferrari F430. It is safe to say that all three cars are within the same performance category yet are split within the GT-classes from the ACO and FIA. The GT1 class is extremely expensive since it allows the use of exotic materials, better aerodynamics, larger brakes, wider tires, and larger engine restrictors compared to GT2. In essence Porsche and Ferrari could produce GT1 running racecar but it would very costly for teams to purchase and operate such machinery. I do not know the price of the GT1 class Corvette but a single 911 GT3 RSR is priced $280,000, so you can imagine how much money the GT1 category demands; think about what the bill would be for an engine rebuild or replacement body work and suspension members.

    With the way things are going, I would not be surprised if the GT1 category disappeared. Again, Corvette Racing is the lone GT1 class with two cars racing themselves for guaranteed podiums. Three manufacturers compete in the GT2 class both in North America - Panoz, Ferrari, and Porsche - while five manufacturers represent the field in Europe - Panoz, Ferrari, Porsche, Spyker, and Chevrolet (with the Z06GT). The LMS proves the C6-R can be reverse engineered to fit in the GT2 class to battle directly against Ferrari and Porsche, who are sadly the top manufacturers of what should be a diverse field of cars. Even if GT1 were to dissolve a solution for GT2 is needed.

    Allow me to go back to how's article had hit me the other day; the only class that fits the factory engine, reduced onboard electronics all in favor of slashing engineering costs, is the GT3 class. Yes the same class, which Porsche named its road going naturally aspirated über-911 variant. The racecar would be the GT3 Cup, which for the price of one RSR can land a team two of these machines. The 911 GT3 is fast, period, so stripping approximately 500 lbs. from the base 911 variant, one gets the impression how much quicker the Cup car is.

    In 2006, the FIA launched the FIA GT3 European Championship as a way to expand manufacturer involvement in motorsports as well as to assist non professional amateur drivers into racing with cost in mind, which is the ultimate series for privateers. The FIA does this a couple of ways. GT3 differs from its GT1 and GT2 counterparts in the implementation of low-cost engineering and designing in the development of a road car to the racing counterpart, as well as the equalization of competition. The cars are not allowed to be developed by their manufacturers over the course of a racing season whereas the GT1 and GT2 classes allow otherwise. Manufacturers provide a ready-to-race car, which in turn are limited in what they can alter from production specification. Since the inception of the championship many manufacturers have joined the series. The manufacturers representing the grid are:

    -Ascari KZR-1
    -Aston Martin DBRS9
    -Chevrolet Corvette Z06-R
    -Dodge Viper Competition Coupe
    -Ferrari F430 GT3
    -Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 ardo GT3
    -Lotus Sport Exige GT3
    -Maserati Gran Sport Light
    -Porsche GT3 Cup
    -Jaguar XKR GT3
    -Ford Mustag FR500GT
    -Gord GT GT3
    -Morgan Aero 8 GT3

    If ACO adopts the GT3 class and some of the FIA rules, this could be an awesome class for the ALMS. Not a great amount will be saved for race team as operational costs will be the same but atleast the price of the cars and maintenance will be a lot lower than GT1 and GT2 cars. I am sure this goes through, this will effect the FIA GT series as the GT1 and GT2 classes participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Chances the FIA GT3 might become the premier grand touring class. The ALMS, LMS, and FIA GT3 could have a great number of factory-supported private teams because of this move.

    Re: Possible ACO changes to GT format

    I think this is a great idea and really hope it happens. All the sports cars like the Z06, GT3, F430, etc. should be racing eachother in the same class. I am really lost on the relevance of the GT1 class. It tries to look like a production based class, but the cars are anything but. It is beyond silly that Corvette races itself in the ALMS. What's the point? And then GM has the gall to threaten to pull out if GT1 is eliminated. I guess having competition would be too much for them.

    The GT3 class seems to solve all the problems with the GT2 and GT1 classes. I think they should just change it to the "GT" class and then have a single prototype class alongside.

    Re: Possible ACO changes to GT format

    Corvette Racing indicated there won't be another lonely season in 2007. Unless more committed competition annouces involvement for 2008 the GT1 class will dissolve.

    Re: Possible ACO changes to GT format

    I think GM is right in some aspects to hold it's ground. Watch any FIA GT race and who gets the top billing? GT1 with highlighting on the GT2 front runners only. If the ALMS absorbed GT1 into GT2 without FIA GT doing the same, it would not be ideal for Corvette on the world stage.

    The US already has a sort of GT3 formula. It's called Speed GT or SCCA World Challenge GT depending on who you ask. It also produces great racing with any one of a handful or two cars capable of winning at any given race. I would love to see more participation all through the US ranks. SCCA WCGT os pretty strong with some factory involvement from GM through the Cadillac program and a lot of Viper Competition Coupes. I just don't know if there are that many teams interested at the top levels. ALMS is top level racing along side FIA GT, why would any European team choose ALMS over FIA GT? Other than market exposure, I am not sure, but racing, especially sports car racing is not very high profile here.

    Dare I say, it may be better for the FIA GT/LMS and the ALMS to combine forces into a single series with more than one or two stops through North America? I don't know what the solution is but perhaps this is simply the natural cyclic action of sports car racing. We seem to have the same discussions every 8-9 years.

    Re: Possible ACO changes to GT format

    The topic is called 'Possible ACO changes to the GT format' but it seems that the ACO will make several changes to GT. They might not exactly switch to GT3-running cars but then they might. As for GT1 being the premium GT class, doesn't mean anything if there are no cars fielded ALMS next year. What the ACO decides will affect both ALMS and LMS championships.

    Plus several national GT championships are using the GT3 format as their premier class. British GT, Belcar, and some French FT series have made the switch. Speed GT is a single driver sprint because there is not a multi-driver lineup. Plus I find the FIA GT3 manufacturer line-up much more appealing.

    Re: Possible ACO changes to GT format

    Modrocket_stereo said:Plus several national GT championships are using the GT3 format as their premier class. British GT, Belcar, and some French FT series have made the switch. Speed GT is a single driver sprint because there is not a multi-driver lineup. Plus I find the FIA GT3 manufacturer line-up much more appealing.

    That is sort of where I was going. ALMS is really just a national series. Whereas you state that many national series (British GT, Spanish GT, etc.) use FIA GT3 similar levels, the ALMS goes much further and higher technologically. I'm wondering if that is merely diluting the world stage for the LMP1, LMP2, and GT1 classes.

    LMP2 in ALMS is strong for the moment with both Porsche and Acura fielding multiple cars through multiple teams, but the changes for 2010 will either force them out, or to change class as it seems to become slated for privateers. You are right about the Speed GT being a sprint/single driver formula. I am merely intimating that it is the closest the US has to a GT3 type formula.

    Personally, I think this is new thinking, same as the old thinking. Sportscar racing attracts manufacturers, gets expensive, manufacturers leave, then the rules makers make rules to cut the expenses thereby attracting manufacturers again. Repeat as many times as necessary.

    Re: Possible ACO changes to GT format

    It is a shame the GT1 class will probably go away. To me it was the pinnacle of GT based sports car racing. Supposedly the C6R's cost in excess if $1M each. The carbon rotors alone are $10,000 a piece!

    I don't beleive that manufacturers don't have the cash, that is a BS argument. Look at Audi, Peugot, Porsche, Acura...all building new prototypes which cost MUCH more to run than a GT1 car, all which have LESS marketing value to the company (in my opinion). I never really caught on to the prototype class as they don't reflect any car I can buy from their vehicle line up. This is probably why I am not that interested in Formula One. At least the Corvette looks like a Corvette and the Aston and Saleen as well. That reminds me of the hardcore sports car racing of the 60's and 70's.

    I think the reason the GT1 class is going away is because of Corvette's domination over the past several years. Without the recent LMP2 entries, the prototype class was in a similiar situation a couple years ago with Audi. No one wants to spend all that money to go against such a dominating team, so what do they a car in another class where no one team dominates or there is a lack of factory interest. For example, no one wanted to take on the R8, so Porsche, Acura all built cars in the LMP2 class which was a privateer class, so losing against an Audi wouldn't be humiliating for them.

    Even Ferrari didn't want to publically back their GT1 effort for the same reason and they are more interested in Forumla One

    The Corvette team supposedly tested a GT2 based Z06 that could run in ALMS. Basically, all the homework is done and they are competing against cars that are simliar in performance. I say if they don't want to bring the fight to you, then bring it to them!

    Re: Possible ACO changes to GT format

    Actually Corvette is racing a ZO6 in GT2 LMS endurance. See below. BTW it was reported that GM invested somewhere near $50M to develop the GT1 Corvettes, that is a sizable amount for anyone, even GM. I think it costs about as much to run in GT1 as P2, and rumor has it (Dumas interview at Le Mans) that both Porsche and Acura are preparing P1 cars. Then the P2 entry makes sense as a platform for these future P1 cars. Most would like to see Acura and Porsche along with Puegeot challenge Audi at Le Mans. Acura and Porsche are certainly doing this in the shorter races here in ALMS with their P2 cars. Maybe we all will get to see BMW, Mazda, Nissian, MB, Jag and Toyota back. I know wishful thinking, but you must agree it would be fun for us to watch!!


    24 Hours Nurburing July 1, 2007

    Note Z06 in GT2 (#48)


    burgring: Race results
    Racing series LMS
    Date 2007-07-01

    Pos Num Class Drivers Team Car Laps/Gap
    1. 8 LMP1 P.Lamy, S.Sarrazin Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 195 laps
    2. 7 LMP1 M.Gene, N.Minassian Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 194 laps
    3. 16 LMP1 E.Collard, J.Boullion Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 191 laps
    4. 15 LMP1 Yoong A, S.Mucke, J.Charouz Charouz Racing Lola B07/17 Judd 188 laps
    5. 9 LMP1 Campbell, J.Walter, F.Ortiz, S.Nakano Creation Autosportif Creation CA07 Judd 0.719
    6. 25 LMP2 T.Erdos, M.Newton RML MG Lola EX264 AER 1:03.578
    7. 32 LMP2 J.Barazi, M.Vergers, K.Ojjeh Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S Zytek 187 laps
    8. 10 LMP1 T.Chilton, H.Shimoda Arena Motorsport Zytek 07S Zytek 9.078
    9. 14 LMP1 J.Lammers, D.Hart, J.Bleekemolen Racing For Holland Dome S101.5 Judd 1:05.688
    10. 40 LMP2 M.Amaral, De, Castro A.Miguel, A.Burge Quifel ASM Team Lola B05/40 AER 1:14.610
    11. 27 LMP2 F.Lienhard, D.Theys, Van, De, E.Poele Horag Racing Lola B05/40 Judd 186 laps
    12. 13 LMP1 J.Gounon, G.Moreau Courage Competition Courage LC70 AER 185 laps
    13. 45 LMP2 W.Hughes, N.Cunningham Embassy Racing Radical SR9 Judd 33.750
    14. 31 LMP2 B.Binnie, A.Timpany, C.Buncombe Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40 Zytek 183 laps
    15. 35 LMP2 J.Nicolet, A.Filhol, B.Jouanny Saulnier Racing Courage LC75 AER 182 laps
    16. 55 LMGT1 S.Ortelli, S.Ayari Team Oreca Saleen S7-R 181 laps
    17. 18 LMP1 J.Barbosa, S.Hall, M.Short Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo Judd 180 laps
    18. 59 LMGT1 A.Garcia, C.Fittipaldi Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 56.672
    19. 72 LMGT1 J.Policand, P.Goueslard, L.Alphand Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 1:15.594
    20. 50 LMGT1 C.Bouchut, G.Gardel, F.Gollin AMR Larbre Aston Martin DBR9 1:16.016
    21. 19 LMP1 G.Evans, B.Berridge, P.Owen Chamberlain Synergy Lola B06/10 AER 179 laps
    22. 61 LMGT1 Perazzini G.Pier, M.Cioci, S.Tavano Racing Box Saleen S7-R 178 laps
    23. 73 LMGT1 J.Blanchemain, S.Dumez, V.Vosse Alphand Aventures Corvette C5-R 177 laps
    24. 51 LMGT1 G.Fisken, S.Zacchia, G.Franchi AMR Larbre Aston Martin DBR9 176 laps
    25. 12 LMP1 A.Frei, J.Cochet Courage Competition Courage LC70 AER 175 laps
    26. 96 LMGT2 R.Bell, A.Simonsen Virgo Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT 173 laps
    27. 77 LMGT2 M.Lieb, X.Pompidou Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 1:30.609
    28. 90 LMGT2 D.Werner, P.Ehret, Nielsen E.Lars Farnbacher Racing Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 172 laps
    29. 97 LMGT2 M.Bobbi, A.Bonetti, F.De Simone GPC Sport Ferrari F430 GT 171 laps
    30. 20 LMP2 M.Rostan, P.Bruneau, S.Pullan Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 Judd 170 laps
    31. 94 LMGT2 A.Belicchi, A.Chiesa, J.Kane Speedy Racing Team Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 39.656
    32. 82 LMGT2 L.Tomlinson, R.Dean Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM 1:07.640
    33. 98 LMGT2 Y.Lambert, C.Lefort, S.Lemeret Ice Pol Racing Team Ferrari F430 GT 169 laps
    34. 92 LMGT2 P.Hesnault, N.Smith, A.Beltoise Thierry Perrier Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 1:22.219
    35. 21 LMP2 S.Moseley, T.Greaves Bruichladdich Radical Radical SR9 AER 165 laps
    36. 76 LMGT2 R.Narac, R.Lietz Imsa Performance Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 16.766
    37. 78 LMGT2 A.Caffi, D.Zardo Scuderia Villorba Ferrari F430 GT 54.360
    38. 95 LMGT2 P.Daniels, D.Cox, J.Camathias James Watt Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 1:31.157
    39. 99 LMGT2 Basso Maurice B.McCormick JMB Racing Ferrari F430 GT 163 laps
    40. 88 LMGT2 C.Ried, Felbermayr J.Horst, T.Gruber Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 162 laps
    41. 79 LMGT2 Felbermayr S.Horst, G.Ried, P.Collin Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 996 GT3 RSR 161 laps
    42. 29 LMP2 R.Longechal, Y.Yamagishi T2M Motorsport Dome S101.5 Mader 159 laps
    43. 44 LMP2 T.Burgess, De, J.Pourtales, N.Siedler Kruse Motorsport Pescarolo Judd 151 laps
    44. 84 LMGT2 Hartshorne John McInerney Sean M.McIne Chad Peninsula Panoz Panoz Esperante GTLM 97 laps
    45. 85 LMGT2 J.Janis, P.Kox Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 79 laps
    46. 81 LMGT2 Kimber-smith Tom, D.Watts Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM 76 laps
    47. 17 LMP1 H.Primat, C.Tinseau Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 54 laps
    48. 89 LMGT2 K.Thiim, T.Thyrring, Sorensen M.Henrik Markland Racing Corvette C6 Z06 22:30.968
    49. 3 LMP1 G.Lavaggi, C.Corsini Scuderia Lavaggi Lavaggi LS01 Ford 29 laps
    50. 83 LMGT2 L.Drudi, J.Mowlem, G.Rosa GPC Sport Ferrari F430 GT 21 laps

    F 0.068FI

    Re: Possible ACO changes to GT format

    I had vaguely mentioned the car in my first post.



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