24 hours of Spa, 24 hours of Nürburgring, DTM. Those are racing events you will probably have heard of and they all have one thing in common: They race with GT3 cars. This article will give you a quick about this type of motorsport and what makes it so interesting.
Written by Paul Röhner, edited by Janvi Unni
What are GT3 cars?
The most important part of GT3-racing are, as in every other kind of motorsports, the cars. And this is where the fun begins. The GT3-Bolides are based on real road vehicles and have between 500 and 600 bhp and the variety in cars is one of the biggest in motorsport. There are currently 13 different GT3-cars that race around the globe. Each of the four top German brands ( Audi, Mercedes-AMG, BMW and Porsche) have a GT3 in their range and so have Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Aston Martin, Bentley (GT3 program officially ended but some are still in use), Corvette*, Honda, Nissan and Lexus.
How is the racing fair?
As those cars are based on plenty of different concepts (front/mid/rear engine, V6/V8/V10 and so on) there needs to be an element of control which equals the cars. This is why there is a so-called Balance of Performance (BoP) which does this job via extra weight or engine restrictors. If the BoP is on point all the cars will have pretty much the same pace so the ability of a driver and the setup work of the teams will make the difference between winning and losing.
Who drives in GT3 series?
The teams that compete in the different GT3 series are mostly private teams which means that they buy their car from the manufacturer and then use it in the races. Sometimes they receive factory support e.g. financial aids or trackside engineers. The independence of the teams leads to many pay drivers to finance the programs. But there also many really fast professional drivers and also some former or probably future F1 drivers like Timo Glock, Alex Albon, Liam Lawson and Callum Ilott.
What GT3-series are there?
There are many different GT3-series, some more, some less professional, so let’s focus on the two most relevant, the DTM and the GT World Challenge Europe. The DTM is probably the most famous of the GT3-series and also only using this type of cars since this season as manufacturers lost interest in their former concept. They have two races per race weekend and each of them lasts for one hour. There is one driver per car and the DTM is the only GT3-series where teams do performance pit stops (as fast as possible). It is the most professional GT3-series, has the fastest BoP and the fewest pay drivers. The GT World Challenge on the other hand is more of a mix between amateur and pro drivers. They race with two drivers at each car which leads to two driver changes and more complex pitstop-rules e.g. minimum stop times. They also have two races over an hour per weekend.
Are there any special events?
The 24 hours of Nürburgring and Spa are two of the most famous races in the world and are both run with GT3 cars.
Where can I watch GT3 racing?
Pretty much all GT3-series stream their sessions live on YouTube so they are available from almost everywhere in the world.
What is GT4?
GT4 is pretty good, comparable with Formula 2. Those are slightly smaller and slower cars that are mostly driven by junior drivers. Almost every GT3-series has their own GT4-series.
So this is all the information you need to get involved with this fascinating area of motorsport, and if you gained interest just go on YouTube and watch a race, as there are many series you will probably find one every weekend and see if you really enjoy GT3-Racing.
*Disclosure: Conversion of the car is ongoing however there has not been a public reveal.