Why British GT is becoming the engine of the British budget Car News

RAM Racing is running two Mercedes-AMG GT3s this year, with its main Pro-Am pairing being Ian Loggie and AMG superstar Jules Gounon, and a Silver-Am car for John Ferguson and aspiring pro Jamie Caroline.

RAM boss Dan Shufflebottom says, “The strength of GT3 is that it offers more than one thing to more than one person. If we look at Ian, who has been a hugely successful businessman, he would rather share with a world-class professional like Jules, who he can learn from and try to improve from. Then on the other side is Jamie in the Silver-Am car. His speed is certainly not in question as he has won Ginetta Junior, British F4 and even British GT4 in the past, and those successes have earned him a shot in GT3. And now he shares a garage with one of the top pros in the business. [Gounon], which gives him both a performance benchmark and also an example as he should observe how Jules runs a race weekend, in everything he does on and off the rack. For a young driver, it’s a real apprenticeship if he is aiming for a professional career in GT.

And therein lies another key to GT3’s success. While revenue-generating single-seater and touring car rides are rare at best, career opportunities in GT racing are far more plentiful. British GT is not the end of the race for drivers like Caroline: it is a stage to get noticed. Championships like the GT World Challenge Europe are even bigger, with more classes, global circuits and even tighter competition. Do well in British GT3 and there’s always a chance that a European deal will follow, putting a young driver ahead of all the big manufacturers.

The same goes for amateur runners. Granted, some just prefer to race domestically (less time in the office, no need to travel overseas…), but others use the UK GT as a testing ground before heading to the GTWCE to take on the international ground. Two-time British GT champion Andrew Howard is doing it this year, as is Loggie, who is running a dual campaign with RAM in Britain and GTWCE with the SPS Performance Mercedes-AMG team.

And then there’s the lower-cost GT4 field. With less power and aerodynamics than GT3 cars, these stock race cars are still powerful sports cars, but at a more accessible price point. Being more production-based, the components for GT4 cars are less expensive. So while they may still have the same high-capacity engine as their GT3 siblings, use the same number of tires (similar size and cost as well) and consume the same amounts of fuel, the real budget difference is in the cost per mile to run them – a figure calculated by literally taking into account everything from the lifespan of a set of brake pads to when the driveshafts need to be changed. The most expensive GT3 cars can fetch upwards of £30 per km to run, or around £180 for a single lap of Silverstone in simple terms. The GT4s are far from that.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-19 10:04:53

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