So Which Class Should Prosports Race In?
We became aware a week ago that a row was brewing regarding the
two Prosports that were due to race at Donington Park last weekend,
in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship, and have since reported
the ruling that was made on Wednesday of this week (May 24) –
that the two cars have been switched to the GT2 Class.
In the interests
of fairness and accurate reporting, the most reasonable way to cover
this controversy is to list the sequence of events.
So, as far as we are aware, the sequence reads like
father of RPM racer Alex Mortimer, prepared a letter in advance
of Donington Park, with the aim of securing the support of all the
other GTC entrants in the championship, to “seek the removal
of the Tipo Prosport 3000 from this years championship”.
The letter goes on to suggest that any Prosports racing at Donington
Park’s two hour race should “be removed from all
The letter continues by justifying why the cars
– those of Ian Stinton and Simon Scuffham – should be
removed from the championship.
Four reasons are given, which can be summarised
/ paraphrased as follows:
1. The car was
designed as a “sports prototype sportscar”
and it was apparently never intended by the manufacturer that the
model should be produced as a road car – and the factory never
apparently produced a road version of the car.
minimum production run of 250 cars to homologate the car for road
use was never undertaken” and the car “does
not have any homologation papers”.
performance parameters of this car are way in excess of any and
all of the cars currently registered in class GTC.”
This third point then goes on to suggest that a
Prosport lapped the International Circuit at Silverstone in 1:18.605
– a time which, for comparison, would have placed this Prosport
at the tail end of the GT1 grid at the 2005 FIA GT event at that
However, we (at dsc) have been convinced that the
1:18.605 was not in fact set by a Prosport, in any form (GTC spec.
or otherwise). Owing to a switch of cars by the car’s (cars’)
owner, this time was in fact set by an LMP2 car.
The best GT2
time at the 2006 British GT media day was a 1:25.07 and the best
GTC time was a 1:27.30 (on Avons).
same performance advantages will be enjoyed (by Prosport entries)
at any and every circuit competed at in (if) driven competently”,
concludes Mr. Mortimer’s point 3.
4. Point 4 reads
as follows, in its entirety: “Because of all the aforementioned,
it is universally felt by all the GTC members that the car does
not conform, nor is it felt to be entered as a bona fide GTC entry.
The car is certainly not in the ‘spirit of the championship’
and should it ever be driven to its performance parameters could
be a major source of embarrassment to the officials of the SRO championship.”
The letter was circulated among GTC entrants, and
others, at Donington Park, and out of 14 GTC teams, at least three,
perhaps as many as five, we believe, refused to sign the document.
The two Prosports competed in the race, Simon Scuffham’s
finishing 18th, after being removed from the gravel on lap 1, Ian
Stinton’s failing to finish.
in point 4, is that neither Prosport is being driven ‘at the
limit’ (“to its performance parameters”)
– which would certainly be the case if either car could lap
Silverstone in 1:18.605. But that was a completely different type
of car (an LMP2).
a driver of known ability, co-drove Ian Stinton’s car at Donington
Park (having spotted the vacancy on dsc), and set a best lap of
1:23.079. Simon Scuffham’s car set a best lap of 1:22.194,
which was the fastest GTC lap during the race. But can comparisons
be made in one event, in wildly changing conditions? Ian Flux set
a 1:19.646 in the Kevin Riley Mosler, but no one is suggesting that
that car should be looked at.
The next best laps in GT2 were:
Ferrari 430 1:21.249
Panoz Esperante 1:21.733
Porsche 911 GT3-RSR 1:22.003.
So is the Mosler 1.6 seconds quicker than a Ferrari
430? On that day, at that time, in those conditions, on those tyres,
Qualifying times at Donington Park tell this story,
in GTC (top ten):
#5 Trackspeed Porsche 1:12.721
#96 RPM Porsche 1:12.896
#16 Motorbase Porsche 1:12.969
#17 RPM Porsche 1:13.422
#58 Team Scandal Prosport 1:13.457
#81 Team Tiger Mantis 1:13.498
#3 Trackspeed Porsche 1:13.569
#12 JMH Ferrari 1:13.728
#99 Beechdean Ferrari 1:14.265
#71 Stinton Prosport 1:14.738.
A good, competitive grid, isn’t it?
made the point already that the Prosports are very slow on the straights,
because under the power to weight formula, these cars, which are
very light, have relatively little power – so they make up
their time in the corners, which is what one would expect of a light,
low car. Isn’t it logical that a Prosport, such as Simon Scuffham’s,
would be expected to perform well in the slippery conditions that
prevailed in the race at Donington Park? And we can’t imagine
Simon Pullan doing anything other than lapping as fast as he could
– although in traffic, with very poor straightline speed,
Pullan would have been hindered by other cars, wouldn’t he?
We haven’t explored tyre choices made by any of the GTC runners
in the changing conditions during the two hour race – that
would make the whole issue too confusing, we believe. The Stinton
/ Pullan car was a retirement at the half way point of the race
The SRO verdict was made public on May 24, and the
Prosports were moved up to GT2, forthwith.
detailed discussions, the British GT Championship organisers SRO
and the BRSCC have taken the decision that the Prosport LM3000 was
incorrectly classified as a GTC class entry and will, with immediate
effect, be reclassified as a GT2 class entry for the 2006 Avon Tyres
British GT Championship” – says the statement.
a series of meetings, the decision was taken that the Prosport LM3000
was incorrectly placed in the GTC class and the two teams running
these cars have been invited to take part in GT2 in the rest of
the 2006 season,” stated Benjamin Franassovici, the British
GT Championship Co-ordinator. “We had to make sure that
this decision is the right one and we needed to gather the right
amount of data to be sure that action had to be taken. That data
can only be acquired by generating results on the track in a competitive
Simon Scuffham has now taken action to defend his
position, and has made public a letter to Stephane Ratel. Scuffham
has responded to each of the four points.
His responses are, in summary, as follows:
1. The basis of the (GTC) regulations are those
of single make championships, in which the Prosport raced. The car
has been accepted as a GTC entry in 2004 and 2005 (and at the start
of 2006), in the British GT Championship. There are road-going Prosports:
Ian Stinton actually owns one.
in the regulations does it demand any kind of homologation for GTC
class cars”, is the entire response to point 2.
3. Scuffham contradicts the “evidence”
in every case regarding the performance of “Prosports”
at various circuits. Some of the times quoted in Robin Mortimer’s
open letter were actually set by an LMP2 car, others by Michael
Christopher’s Prosport, which was running in a different specification
to a British GT Championship car.
comply with the GTC power to weight regs, this car (Scuffham’s
car) is now running an engine some 70 Bhp less than LM3000 specification
(to achieve an at the wheels figure of 210 Bhp),” he
all the testing we have completed with the ProSport (with Avon tyres),”
he continues, “we have been consistently between 0.7 –1.2
seconds off the front running GTC car on the same day (Trackspeed
996), this is also shown in the qualifying for Donington where we
were 1.621 seconds off GTC pole time (actually approx. 0.7 of a
second, we believe). This is also the case at Oulton where Ian Stinton’s
fastest lap of the weekend was 1.803 (actually approx. 1.3) seconds
off the GTC pole (a 996 GT3).”
point 4, his whole answer reads: “We fail to understand
this point, and would also point out that their views are not as
universal as they have stated. We have had offers of support from
several other GTC (and GT3) teams on this issue, their (and our)
view is that this action is purely motivated by paranoia and self-interest.”
concluding paragraphs read as follows: “For SRO to say
that the ProSport LM3000 is now a GT2 car is laughable, it’s
not and never will be an FIA homologated car, and ignoring that
issue, adding some 250Kg’s to it will not only make the car
unsafe, it would also be a mobile chicane (we can only imagine this
idea was dreamed up so that SRO can save face by saying that the
ProSport LM3000 has now been banned). We have made a substantial
investment and commitment to enter British GT, and as we stand,
this is looking like a complete write-off, to this end, we are now
looking at what action we can take to recover our investment.”
Simon Scuffham has indicated that he has taken legal
advice over this issue.
Just one final point: one entrant who did sign the
‘Mortimer letter’ points out that the GTC Class is specifically
for cars that were designed as road cars and have been made available
for sale to road car buyers, and he firmly expresses the view that
the Prosport didn’t / doesn’t meet this requirement.
It was designed as a racing car.
The power to weight rules do provide very evenly
balanced lap times in GTC (see qualifying times, above), and the
Prosports have been running in the class in 2004 and 2005.
So there we are. No opinions being expressed here
at dsc: we’re simply trying to present the facts.