British GT: what you need to know

For 25 years the British GT Championship has formed an intrinsic part of the UK’s national motorsport fabric. But, having undergone a number of changes throughout those that quarter-century, it’s difficult to envisage an era more competitive than the current GT3/4 format.

First organised by the British Racing Drivers Club in 1993, the BRDC National Sports GT Challenge (as it was then known) featured grids of wildly different machinery loosely grouped into vibrant classes comprising sportscars and saloons.

The term ‘British GT’ was first used in 1995 just as a new age of GT1 and GT2 cars was beginning to materialise. Indeed, the latter part of the 1990s would see some of the category’s most incredible and iconic cars, such as the McLaren F1 GTR, Porsche 911 GT1, Lister Storm GTL and Jaguar XJ220C contest British GT in the hands of top-line international racers and home-grown amateur talent.

But a GT racing revolution was about to take place, and Britain would be at the forefront. With GT1 becoming an increasingly distant memory and GT2 proving too costly the championship sought a fresh direction. New, balanced GT3 regulations had proven popular in Europe under SRO’s guidance and when the organisation was appointed British GT promoter in 2005 the same cars made their way across the Channel.

Indeed, since then British GT has re-established itself as the world’s foremost domestic GT series. GT4’s arrival and subsequent expansion currently sees two classes running on the same track at once, an important aspect of GT competition that enables a driver to prepare for international endurance racing, while the option to also field GTC entries remains a possibility.

Traditional British sportscar manufacturers have always featured heavily in the series: Lotus, TVR, Marcos, Darrian, Lister and, more recently, Chevron, Ginetta, Aston Martin, McLaren and Bentley have underlined the championship’s unique British spirit.


WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017?

• A new Silver/Am cetgory aimed at young professionals aims to bridge the gap to full Pro/Am crews.

• All-Am pairings will receive 1.5x points towards the overall championship.

• The Am driver's minimum stint length for two-hour races has risen from 50 to 60 minutes. Pit-stops will therefore take place between the 60 and 70 minute mark.

• The fastest Am in qualifying receives an additional five points towards the Blancpain Gentleman Driver Trophy, thus ensuring the overall championship winner doesn't automatically claim the prize.

• GT3 cars will be easily recognised by their yellow windscreen strips. GT4 cars will use blue and red windscreen strips, and feature yellow headlights.

• Second practice now lasts 60 minutes. This is the same as FP1 and 10 minutes longer than in previous seasons.


THE BASICS // BRITISH GT IN A NUTSHELL

REIGNING 2016 CHAMPIONS
GT3 Drivers’: Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam (TF Sport, Aston Martin)
GT3 Pro/Am: Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam (TF Sport, Aston Martin)
GT3 Silver Cup: Ryan Ratcliffe and Will Moore (Optimum Motorsport, Audi)
GT3 Teams’: TF Sport, Aston Martin

GT4 Drivers’: Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson (PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport, Ginetta)
GT4 Pro/Am: Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson (PMW Expo Racing/Optimum Motorsport, Ginetta)
GT4 Silver Cup: Jack Bartholomew (Beechdean AMR, Aston Martin)
GT4 Teams’: RCIB Insurance Racing, Ginetta

2015 AWARD WINNERS
Blancpain Gentleman Driver Trophy: Derek Johnston
Sunoco Fastest Driver of the Year: Jonny Adam (GT3) and Sandy Mitchell (GT4)
Rookie of the Year: Sandy Mitchell and Ciaran Haggerty
Allan Simonsen Award: Phil Keen

CLASSES
• GT3 and GT4

• Cars not homologated as either GT3 or GT4 can run as Invitational entries at British GT’s discretion

• GTC remains a legal but currently unused specification

• Rules include performance balancing and handicap weights

DRIVER GRADING
• Pro/Am driver crews are the bedrock of British GT. These consist of professional drivers graded as Silver (or higher) and amateur/gentleman drivers graded as Bronze.

• Crews consisting solely of Amateur or Silver drivers may also enter, although the latter’s car will be carefully balanced by the GT Bureau to ensure it competes at the same pace as Pro/Am line-ups, thus allowing both to challenge for victories.

• 2017 sees the introduction of a new Silver/Am category for young professionals paired with an amateur.

• Silver and Gold/Platinum driver pairings are not permitted.

CHAMPIONSHIPS
GT3: Drivers’, Teams’, Pro/Am, Silver Cup, Silver/Am (new for 2017) and Blancpain Gentleman Driver Trophy
GT4: Drivers’, Teams’, Pro/Am, and Silver Cup

POINTS
Races lasting two hours or more are worth an additional 50% points

• 1 hour races: 1st 25, 2nd 18, 3rd 15, 4th 12, 5th 10, 6th 8, 7th 6 8th 4, 9th 2, 10th 1

• 2-3 hour races: 1st 37.5, 2nd 27, 3rd 22.5, 4th 18, 5th 15, 6th 12, 7th 9, 8th 6, 9th 3, 10th 1.5

AWARDS

Blancpain Driver of the Weekend
Most impressive amateur performance across the weekend wins a Blancpain clock (wall-mounted)

Sunoco Fastest Race Lap of the Weekend Award
Awarded to both the GT3 and GT4 driver who sets their class’ fastest race lap. Weekends comprising two races will still only reward the overall fastest time in both classes. The driver with most fastest laps at the end of the year will be crowned at the end-of-season prize-giving.

Professional Motorsport World Expo Team of the Weekend Award
The Professional Motorsport World Expo Team of the Weekend Award will be offered to the outfit that has gone above and beyond or produced a stand-out act during each 2016 British GT event. This, amongst other considerations, might include overcoming a particularly difficult technical issue, executing an innovative race strategy to perfection or achieving an unexpected result in the face of adversity. The award is open to all full-season teams competing in both GT3 and GT4. A trophy will be awarded to each winner at every round before one overall ‘champion’ is crowned at the end-of-season prize giving ceremony where their sporting attitude, dedication and spirit will be recognised.

TYPICAL RACE WEEKEND FORMAT
British GT race weekends typically run Saturday-Sunday. The exceptions to these are Oulton Park (Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday) and Spa-Francorchamps (Friday/Saturday).

Day 1
60mins Free Practice 1
60mins Free Practice 2
10mins GT3 Am Qualifying
10mins GT3 Pro Qualifying
10mins GT4 Am Qualifying
10mins GT4 Pro Qualifying

Day 2
10mins Warm-up
60/120/180mins Race 1
60mins Race 2 (Oulton Park and Snetterton only)

PIT-STOP AND DRIVE-TIME REGULATIONS
In races lasting one hour the top three finishers in each class from the previous round must respectively serve an additional 10, 7, 5 econd success penalty during their mandatory pit-stop. During races lasting two hours or longer the top three finishers in each class from the previous round must respectively serve an additional 20, 15 and 10-second success penalty during their mandatory pit-stop.

Competitors must make at least one pit-stop during all British GT races. During the Silverstone 500, the season's only three-hour race, competitors must make three mandatory pit stops.

All cars are subject to a minimum pit-stop time. This starts as the car crosses the pit-in line and ends as it triggers the timing beam at pit-out. Anyone found to be under this time must serve a stop/go penalty to the same value as they were under time (eg 10secs too fast in the pits equals a 10secs stop/go penalty).

During one-hour races the minimum time a driver can spend behind the wheel is 25 minutes. This minimum time rises to 60 minutes for Am drivers in races lasting two hours.

Failure to adhere to these time scales will result in a stop/go penalty or additional time added post-race.

QUALIFYING
There are always four qualifying segments determined by driver grading and class…

1x GT3 Am
1x GT3 Pro
1x GT4 Am
1x GT4 Pro

…but their significance depends on the number of races being held that weekend.

2x one-hour races: each car’s Am and Pro driver’s best individual time will determine the grid for Race 1 and Race 2, respectively.
1x 2 or 3-hour races: each of the Am and Pro’s fastest lap times are combined to determine the starting order. The lowest combined time takes pole for each class. The Am will start the Race.

Each of the four sessions last 10 minutes.

Classes are split, meaning GT3 and GT4 cars do not run at the same time.

Drivers must complete two timed laps (not including in and out laps).

2016 Published British GT Regulations