The promoters of the CAMS Australian GT Championship have revealed they are looking at a push towards increasing the size of the GT4 fields in Australia after a recent survey uncovered more than a dozen cars in the country, with more on the water due to arrive in coming weeks.
As part of the redevelopment of Australian GT, Category Manager David Vervaart also revealed that they were investigating dedicated GT4 races for the coming year, and that a number of manufacturers were in discussions about opportunities to create ‘development’ teams within the championship.
“GT4 has provided a mixed opportunity globally in past seasons – in some areas it has really taken off, whilst others have seen a slow burn, so like many other parts of the world, we’ve been looking at how to better cater for those competitors that have purchased cars in an effort to get them out on track and racing,” Vervaart explained.
“One of the concerns for new car owners has been competing on track alongside the Pro drivers in the faster GT3 cars, something they view as a step too far with a car that many of them have purchased as an entry into GT competition.
“The issue with that is that their trepidation hasn’t allowed us to develop GT4 as a standalone category because not enough of them want to take that initial step of joining a professional series without first getting some miles under their belts. That situation is changing all the time – as they build experience through testing – but interest from a number of manufacturers is the thing that has given us renewed momentum to push the category forward.”
It is understood that several manufacturers are looking at GT4 as an opportunity to develop a racing structure through to the upper echelons of GT competition, racing which can see drivers compete at such events as Bathurst, Le Mans, Nurburgring, Spa and Daytona – their biggest setback, having a pathway through which drivers can develop those skills.
“Many manufacturers now have one-make categories to promote their brand through motorsport, but they’re also discovering that whilst successful, the one make categories lead drivers into other championships once they get a taste for the sport. Often, they’re losing those competitors to another brand that has a program in place in other multi-marque championships.
“Clearly GT4 was developed as an introduction to GT racing, with drivers capable of graduating through the ranks as they progress into those higher profile events, so they’re looking to develop that hierarchy and support drivers from the beginning. Whether that’s younger drivers looking to emerge from karts or Formula cars, or older drivers who are developing a career in the sport later in life, GT4 provides an ideal platform to get started.
“GT4 cars are also as much as half the cost of a GT3 car, and for a similar price to a two-litre touring car, they have the ability to turn laps just as quickly, but in one of the world’s most exclusive marques, with opportunities to then on-sell that car to markets all over the globe.”
Currently the Australian GT GT4 Championship is being dominated by the KTM X-Bow GT4s of Melbourne’s M-Motorsport, with cameo appearances from McLaren, Audi and Ginetta teams through the year, but Vervaart confirmed that new cars are landing in the country regularly.
“A new Aston Martin Vantage GT4 landed in the country just a fortnight ago for a buyer who is also bringing in a new GT3, whilst there are others in the pipeline waiting to see what opportunities exist within the GT category. This is one of the reasons we are so intent on developing an opportunity for GT4 drivers to not just race within Australian GT events alongside the GT3 cars, but also alone as part of their own championship.”
With the 2020 calendar being finalized this month, Vervaart admitted that discussions are well advanced for GT4 to compete alone at select events next season.
Source. Motorsport Media