Mark Howson, one of our British GT contributors, let slip at Le
Mans that he missed the chance to read regular editorials during
the racing season. Quite right Mark – but it has been particularly
But as June (another frantic month) rolls round
into July, here are some thoughts relating to the last fortnight
or so of last month.
Our sympathies go out to anyone who was involved
at Le Mans, and was then preparing cars for the following weekend
– or rushing them back to North America to prepare them for
Lime Rock. The last weekend in June saw dsc’s contributors
covering British GTs, FIA GTs, Belcar, Britsports, Spanish GTs and
French GTs. Probably not a good weekend for those who had been spectating
at Le Mans to ask for another ‘weekend pass’, although
Goodwood seems to pull in the numbers. Perhaps a different crowd?
But such a busy weekend was at least an opportunity
to compare some of the different European series.
GT2 in the FIA GT Championship is in a bit of a
dilemma, isn’t it? The GruppeM Porsches are far and away the
best-equipped in the class – and they’re driven by four
professionals. They repeatedly run away with the races, and will
continue to do so until a rival team presents the same kind of equipment
Is there a solution though? Looking at GT1, the
rules have been ‘tweaked’ to allow the Maseratis to
enter the championship: they’ve been given restrictions so
that they can compete against the opposition. Couldn’t the
same thought process, in reverse, be applied to GT2. What about
larger restrictors for the Renauer and Vonka Porsches? And perhaps
the G2 Balfe Mosler? Why do the regulations have to be so restrictive?
Similarly in British GTs, the Ferraris are a second
a lap quicker than the opposition: why couldn’t the opposition
be given slightly larger restrictors?
Hang on though – that would be unfair…
on the teams that have spent the money to develop their cars to
the fullest extent. Surely rules are rules, and everyone should
compete on the same, level playing field? Or in the case of Indianapolis,
the same banked corner. ‘We can’t build a temporary
chicane because it would be unfair on the teams that arrived with
suitable tyres’. The entertainment factor was conveniently
ignored, at the expense of 120,000 fans who’d come to see
20 cars race: they got six.
So ‘rules are rules’ - or should be
a greater freedom be introduced, to permit a better quality of racing?
The FIA GT Championship seems to allow Maseratis in, on the one
hand, but on the other, there’s no suggestion that of helping
GT2 entrants to compete against the big boys. But there has been
an adjustment of the regulations to allow the Saleens to be more
Perhaps it’s asking a bit much though, for
some Porsches to be treated differently from others. Is this top
level racing or not?
There’s an interesting comparison with GT2
at Le Mans – and GT2 in the LMES. Same regulations, very different
results. Le Mans is more like the FIA Championship (but at least
with the win contested by Porsches from different teams), while
GT2 in the LMES has seen the most open racing imaginable, in all
five events so far. Discuss.
In terms of freedom, Belcar seems to offer teams
the greatest opportunity to ‘do their own thing’. A
well driven 911 bi-turbo can almost compete with the Viper(s) and
Corvette, with the right drivers, while haring along near the front
of the field at Brands Hatch on June 26 was – a highly developed
Marcos Mantis! It was running in the top six for the first hour,
and great fun to watch it was too.
Belcar doesn’t offer an entirely free hand
though: promoter Marc Martens made the point that the regulations
are fixed for three years. Of course a significant factor in GT
racing is the relative pace of individual drivers, and Belcar saw
cars slip down the order as their owners took their turn.
I’m not suggesting that a Mantis should be
running near the front of the FIA GT Championship, but think of
the likes of Wolfgang Kaufmann in FIA GTs: if he could be given
a chance to qualify on the tails of the top Porsches, the opening
phases of the races could be much more entertaining – and
the smaller teams would be encouraged to compete, rather than simply
hoping to make that third podium spot.
The argument seems to be a simple one: should rules
be adjusted so that less competitive cars are made more competitive?
Clearly they shouldn’t in Formula 1, but there are surely
enough examples of rules being adjusted to indicate that, where
necessary, changes could be made – to improve the racing (without
teams spending a fortune that they haven’t got).