British GT ushers in new exciting era

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Took the Turbo to Silverstone to attend the media day for the British GT series. Also managed a few laps in one of the very fastest cars out there, a tale you can read elsewhere in this issue (p108). As you’ll gather, I can’t help being enthusiastic about this increasingly popular category of racing.

You can always tell when a set of regulations have hit the sweet spot because car manufacturers start piling in. Remember the heady days of the BPR back in the early-tomid-1990s, when the regs made an outright Le Mans win possible for a GT? Suddenly there were Porsches, Ferraris, McLarens, Bugattis, Jaguars and Hondas, all based on machinery that, given the funds, anyone could buy and drive on the road.

In fact there was a lot more road car in the Le Mans-winning McLaren F1 GTR of 1995 than any front-running GT3 today.

Today’s regulations mean only the basic platform of the car has to be retained, allowing you to use carbon panels, race transmissions, very sophisticated aerodynamics and all sorts of electronic trickery to control traction and stability. You don’t even need to use an engine from the road car.

The result is a series that allows a lot of creativity and engineering latitude but still provides cars clearly based on those you can go out and buy.

This year British GTs will boast cars of front-, mid- and rear-engine configuration, with normal or forced induction and four, six, eight or 12 cylinders.

So from a state-of-the-art McLaren MP4-12C GT3 to the venerable Aston Martin DBRS9, there is a sight and sound for anyone who’s ever felt the smallest pang of interest in sports car racing. And they’re quick, as lap times close to the two-minute mark around the Silverstone GP circuit attest. To see when they’re racing near you, visit www.britishgt.com.