Martin Short On The Mosler GT3 Situation
We broke the news on December 8 (here) that the FIA World Council had blocked the homologation of the GT3 version of the Mosler MT900R. Here Martin Short explains what has happened since May of this year, and brings the story right up to date, including developments since December 8.

In May this year I first contacted Stephane Ratel about GT3 with the Mosler. He said FIA GT3 was off but National GT3 was fine.

In September I complained that Jaguar would be entering cars in FIA GT3, and were fully welcomed by Stephane but no Jaguar race car existed in GT3 (and possibly only now does). Yet Mosler was relegated to National GT3. And of course Ascari was already in, with probably fewer cars made than Mosler (over 30). Stephane got back to me and said that any manufacturer who brings three cars to FIA GT3 would be welcomed.

I met with Stephane in Mugello in mid-September, and he confirmed the above again. I then met with Peter Wright, the President of the FIA GT Commission and sorted out what was needed to homologate the car. At no time was there a mention of 200 cars. And indeed, I cannot find this in any regulation from 2006, but I am ready to be corrected. Ascari was apparently given a waiver (presumably for the lack of 200 cars) to allow them to compete. The 200 cars issue was voted in (I believe) a few weeks ago.

I told both Stephane Ratel and Peter Wright that we were building cars for GT3 at our new factory in St.Ives, Cambridgeshire, and would get back to them when we had the homologation form fully filled in (it was fairly complex).

On 1st November we got the finally completed form to the FIA. On the 2nd of November I was informed by Stephane that there had been changes and the Mosler was no longer accepted. He hadn't realised that I was serious about it.....Stephane then put in place a rigorous campaign to get us back in the programme.

The GT commission put us forward to the World Council of the FIA with a vote of 7 out of 9 FOR the acceptance of Mosler in GT3. The votes against were from Aston Martin and Porsche.

During this time, we had already paid to be part of the Cologne Professional Motorsports Expo (above), and had a fantastic show. Thereafter we displayed the car (at Stephane's request) at the Essen Motorshow, on the ADAC German Masters GT3 stand.

During this time, we took provisional orders for 12 Mosler GT3 cars. 6 for FIA (and German Masters), 2 for British, 1 for Belgian, and a further 3 for the German Masters. In addition, we were heading down the road for acceptance at the Nurburgring 24 as a GT3 car.

The World Council, despite the GT Commission’s recommendations, voted against us. We required a waiver (for the lack of 200 cars), and the World Council would accept this if there were no complaints at their table. The manufacturers, Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari and Jaguar all lobbied extremely hard to make sure we were not accepted. And thus we were not.

This Championship is about balancing performances on the track, with clever simulation software (hence the time for homologation paperwork) and test drivers for the FIA balancing the car. The Mosler would not have any performance advantage over the other cars. And as a certain number of cars have GT1 aero on them, on certain tracks, we would be at a significant disadvantage.

As for 200 cars in a year, at a build rate of two road cars per month, we are hardly likely to challenge that. So effectively any small car manufacturer (even somebody as big as Noble, or TVR in their heyday) would struggle to build those numbers of one model.

So this leaves us with the 'Grand Marques'. The car names that have been around since.....well, since they only produced a couple of cars a month.....and they raced their cars......and they grew bigger ………….

Times have indeed changed since then, but it would be nice to believe that the same ethic that allowed the Grand Marques to race in their early days should apply today, especially where a small manufacturer cannot gain an advantage by building a small run special. Therefore, GT3 is the perfect place for any manufacturer, as long as they commit to 3 cars in the first year of FIA GT3, and 6 in the second (Stephane’s words)…. And the cars go through the full homologation / performance balancing procedure.

However, the Grand Marques fail to see this, and want the cars to have a certain ‘look’ about them (which falls down badly with the possible advent of the GT40 GT3). Jaguar was particularly vocal, and of course, is owned by Ford……

However, surely the Grand Marques have missed something here? GT3 is a Championship where somebody can go and buy a $25,000 Mustang, convert it, make it into a competitive GT3 car by whatever needs necessary, without constraints to the majority of GT2 type regulations, and can race against….GT40s, Ascaris, Moslers…. cars that have a worth 10 times that of the Mustang in road trim. Cars that would never come close to ‘Supercars’ on the road, now find themselves in GT3 with a platform where they can really look good. “How about that Mustang kicking the Mosler's butt…..?”

The reverse mentality would seem to be prevalent though. The thought of Mosler winning a race over a Grand Marque car is maybe too much to bear? In the meantime, how much is a Grand Marque GT3 car? I believe the Porsche is the only one cheaper than our car. And the price of our spares and our running costs are massively less. And where are the competitors’ needs met in this affair?

Warren Mosler has invested over half a million pounds so far in the GT3 project, on Stephane’s (and my) word. Stephane put us in the game, the Manufacturers took us out. We had provisionally sold 12 excellent GT3 cars at a very competitive 200,000 Euros. New engines were to be £12,000 complete, fully dressed with dry sump. The car is a super reliable 24 hour car with pedigree, and is 100% derived from a road car, made in Dereham in Norfolk for the last three years.

Nearly 30 people are employed by Warren Mosler in the UK, and who knows how many suppliers in the UK are earning from his investment (Hewland alone has benefited to the tune of over £200,000 worth of orders).

Stephane has said that the Mosler will be acceptable in British GT3, and is working on other Championships so far. The Mosler will go through a performance balancing programme for this.

It is not an ideal situation. In fact, it’s awful, seeing customer after customer pull out, all delighted with the car, all excited about racing in GT3 with it, but now unable to race it, except, so far, in the UK.

GT3 is the perfect place for the car, and would have turned the name Mosler into a World name. Now we have to sit on our hands again, to see what happens next. And yes….It’s bloody choking. And I am gutted about the whole situation. It’s one thing being told at the outset that you can’t join in, but to be told you can, then spend a fortune and then be told you can’t……that’s tough…..

British GT is on and I will have to hope that Stephane Ratel will be able to help us in the other Championships.

Martin Short

 

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