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Old 30 Dec 2017, 13:19 (Ref:3789788)   #1
Speed-King
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Should we be worried about the future of GTD?

While most eyes will be on the rise of IMSA's DPi-class and the factory battles in GT-LM in 2018, things in the slower part of the field are beginning to look less rosy. Going through the Roar-before-the-24 entry list, I found only ten cars that I'd comfortably consider full season entries and the budget figures quoted for a full season campaign in this article make the problem rather obvious: GTD/GT3 is - at least when running a calender on the scale of IMSA's - in the process of pricing itself out of existence. It's time for the powers that be to be proactive about the situation rather than waiting for the class' full collapse.

Now, some people on here have already suggested a reduction of races for GTD (e.g. by eliminating the Laguna Seca round), but I don't think that that would be much of a solution as it would reduce budgets at best by a few percent, while potentially making the series even less attractive to some entrants such as Utah-based John Potter.

In my opinion, a switch of technical regulations to a more affordable formula would be much more effective than simply cutting a race from the calender. The formula I'm talking about is of course GT4, which is really coming into its own these days and seeing increased levels of factory-run customer sports programs from the likes of Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Ford.

At the same time, GT4 cars are still only one-third of what most GT3 cars go for these days - and though that might not apply one-to-one to the running costs (after all air plane fares and hotel stays are the same whether your crew works on a GT3 or a GT4), a switch to GT4 regs would still lead to a significant reduction of running costs in GTD.

Of course, GT4 already has a presence in the IMSA paddock in the shape of CTSCC's GS class, but I don't think that would be an insurmountable problem. IMSA could either try to run the class in parallel in both series (much like the ACO does with LMP3 in the ELMS and the Michelin Cup) or move the class entirely to the Weather Tech Series while returning CTSCC to its showroom stock roots. Another option could be a straight up switch of GT classes between IMSA's two series, with GT3 becoming the top class of CTSCC, but with a schedule that would be a lot more budget friendly than the mammoth calender that's being run in the main show right now. But be that as it may, I firmly believe a solution could be found here.

If we look at all these aspects, I don't think there would be significant drawbacks associated with a switch to GT4 regs for GTD in the 2020 time frame: manufacturer interest in GT4 is already comparable to GT3, the class is already well-established in the IMSA paddock, and the GT4 rules are significantly more budget-friendly than is the case with GT3 right now. IMSA needs to act on the GTD situation in the not too distant future and GT4 is the only sensible option, that goes beyond mere window dressing.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 14:01 (Ref:3789799)   #2
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I wouldn't say we should be "worried", but it is certainly something to keep an eye on. That goes for GT3 in general. It's not out of hand...yet. But it will be if it isn't kept under control.

Worry is a bit much right now, but I agree with everything you've said.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 14:27 (Ref:3789801)   #3
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I don't feel like the GTD grid is going to be that much smaller next year with 10 full time entries and 11 for the NAEC & 36H FL. I think that allowing Acura and Lexus to run full factory teams last year caused some damage, but the series stuck to their word and moved beyond that.

We lost full time entries from Stevenson, 3GT, CORE, Park Place, MSR, Riley, Change Racing, and what Turner is doing is a bit of an unknown. However, we also added Land, Wright, Magnus and have a few teams joining the part time ranks and there are a few teams out there rumored to being running partial schedules (GMG, Lone Star, TRG, Konrad, etc). I am a little disappointed that we are not seeing more for the 36H FL out of the European ranks, but it is what it is.

I know the $2.5-3m price point is high, however, that does not seem unreasonable considering the costs associated with running the full IMSA schedule and the testing that goes with it(which I look at as extremely strong right now with venues that good fan support). That actually sounds like good value for money when you consider what the NASCAR budgets and costs are in the lower series (especially when you look at it on a per hour basis with 75ish hours of racing on the calendar).

Full Time (10)
15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3
29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS
33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3
44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS
48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3
58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R
63 Weathertech Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3
75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3
96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 (Bit of an unknown)

NAEC / 36H FL (11)
11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (36H FL)
14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 (NAEC)
19 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (36H FL)
51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 (36H FL)
59 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (36H FL)
64 Weathertech Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 (NAEC)
69 HART Acura NSX GT3 (NAEC)
71 P1 Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 (NAEC)
73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (NAEC)
82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 (NAEC)
86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 (NAEC)

Last edited by Dyson Mazda; 30 Dec 2017 at 14:40.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 16:32 (Ref:3789814)   #4
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Isn't this just part of the cycle? GT3/GTD becomes GTLM, GT4 becomes GT3/GTD, and when these classes are developed and made more technical, GT4 will become GTLM, and GT5/whatever the next in line is called, becomes GTD. Kinda like how GT1 went away, GT2 became GT1/GTLM, and GT3 became GTD/GT2.

Seems like every few years, whatever the next in line GT class not in the main series, becomes talked about as replacing the lowest class in the main series.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 16:39 (Ref:3789817)   #5
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I think that GTD can keep using GT3 rules for a few more years. GT4 will be eventually adopted, I agree, but not soon.

Speaking of which, I'd rename the classes to GTR and GTS (for Ratel and Stephane ).

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I am a little disappointed that we are not seeing more for the 36H FL out of the European ranks, but it is what it is.
GT3 entries can compete for overall wins at the International GT Challenge and 24H Series. The Florida classics are prestigious of course, but less so for the third class.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 18:47 (Ref:3789829)   #6
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Originally Posted by NaBUru38 View Post
I think that GTD can keep using GT3 rules for a few more years. GT4 will be eventually adopted, I agree, but not soon.

Speaking of which, I'd rename the classes to GTR and GTS (for Ratel and Stephane ).



GT3 entries can compete for overall wins at the International GT Challenge and 24H Series. The Florida classics are prestigious of course, but less so for the third class.
Where would you rank the GTD class win at the Rolex 24 and 12H Sebring in the grand scheme of GT3 wins? Maybe 4th & 5th behind:
1) 24H Nurburgring
2) 24H Spa
3) 12H Bathurst
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 23:35 (Ref:3789878)   #7
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The idea of removing GTD from Laguna Seca is just a means to help reduce costs for 2018 only. Its probably the only thing you can do for this year since the year is upon us now. It would reduce GTD from 11 to 10 races which DPI is already doing. Plus Laguna in the past has shown that P/GTLM only works pretty darn good.
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Old 30 Dec 2017, 23:40 (Ref:3789880)   #8
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Originally Posted by Dyson Mazda View Post
Where would you rank the GTD class win at the Rolex 24 and 12H Sebring in the grand scheme of GT3 wins? Maybe 4th & 5th behind:
1) 24H Nurburgring
2) 24H Spa
3) 12H Bathurst
Agree with this. In terms of GT3 races, GTD at Dayton probably ranks 4th in prestige. Not bad though, its still ahead of the 8 hours of Laguna, 6 hours of Paul Ricard, or any other Blancpain Gt sprint/endurance races.

Granted the blancpain gt races as a whole is the best GT3 racing. Even though no individual races other than Spa 24 stand out.
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Old 31 Dec 2017, 01:50 (Ref:3789888)   #9
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Originally Posted by Speed-King View Post
While most eyes will be on the rise of IMSA's DPi-class and the factory battles in GT-LM in 2018, things in the slower part of the field are beginning to look less rosy. Going through the Roar-before-the-24 entry list, I found only ten cars that I'd comfortably consider full season entries and the budget figures quoted for a full season campaign in this article make the problem rather obvious: GTD/GT3 is - at least when running a calender on the scale of IMSA's - in the process of pricing itself out of existence. It's time for the powers that be to be proactive about the situation rather than waiting for the class' full collapse.

Now, some people on here have already suggested a reduction of races for GTD (e.g. by eliminating the Laguna Seca round), but I don't think that that would be much of a solution as it would reduce budgets at best by a few percent, while potentially making the series even less attractive to some entrants such as Utah-based John Potter.

In my opinion, a switch of technical regulations to a more affordable formula would be much more effective than simply cutting a race from the calender. The formula I'm talking about is of course GT4, which is really coming into its own these days and seeing increased levels of factory-run customer sports programs from the likes of Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Ford.

At the same time, GT4 cars are still only one-third of what most GT3 cars go for these days - and though that might not apply one-to-one to the running costs (after all air plane fares and hotel stays are the same whether your crew works on a GT3 or a GT4), a switch to GT4 regs would still lead to a significant reduction of running costs in GTD.

Of course, GT4 already has a presence in the IMSA paddock in the shape of CTSCC's GS class, but I don't think that would be an insurmountable problem. IMSA could either try to run the class in parallel in both series (much like the ACO does with LMP3 in the ELMS and the Michelin Cup) or move the class entirely to the Weather Tech Series while returning CTSCC to its showroom stock roots. Another option could be a straight up switch of GT classes between IMSA's two series, with GT3 becoming the top class of CTSCC, but with a schedule that would be a lot more budget friendly than the mammoth calender that's being run in the main show right now. But be that as it may, I firmly believe a solution could be found here.

If we look at all these aspects, I don't think there would be significant drawbacks associated with a switch to GT4 regs for GTD in the 2020 time frame: manufacturer interest in GT4 is already comparable to GT3, the class is already well-established in the IMSA paddock, and the GT4 rules are significantly more budget-friendly than is the case with GT3 right now. IMSA needs to act on the GTD situation in the not too distant future and GT4 is the only sensible option, that goes beyond mere window dressing.
I'll watch the GT4 speeds in imsa pretty close this season to see how they stack up laptime wise vs gtd. I wouldn't mind seeing GT4 in the big show, but I worry about closing speeds with the protos.

But honestly I'm more worried about the longevity of the gtlm class.
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Old 31 Dec 2017, 03:38 (Ref:3789904)   #10
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Just interesting to look, that when IMSA was big in the '80s, GTP was running 80+ hours in a season, with, say, 16 races, and maybe 10-12 of those were 3 hours/500k or more. And GTO/GTU wasn't necessarily a huge amount less than that in terms of running time, even with divided race distances being lower for the GTs in a number of cases.

(Fuel was more expensive then in terms of mileage being worse, whether for the race cars or the transporters. I doubt motels were exactly cheaper in real terms back then, and probably less prevalent. On-the-road communication was harder, so you lost efficiency compared to today because of that. The over-the-wall pit crews have never been huge, either then or now. A GTP was up to $300,000 in 1986; what's inflation do to that? And what's the inflation-adjusted price for one of those Roush GTO-class cars? It's just interesting to compare.)

As for going forward now, I think I'd want to have a better idea of what's coming for Prototypes in 2020 first, because that could sort of reset the GT map in a number of ways, depending on the direction the rules go.
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Old 1 Jan 2018, 22:07 (Ref:3790202)   #11
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The cost of doing a front running Rolex GT car in 2007 was $1.5M. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $1.72M or 1.5%. The cost of running a front running GTD car today is around $2.8M. So why is racing running at an inflation rate of 86%? Think about it. It doesn't cost 86% more to transport, feed and lodge crew than it did back in 2007. Where is the money going? GT3/GTD is the cheaper way to go racing because all you do is buy a car and never have to worry about developing it. It literally takes less talented people to run a GT3 car as opposed to running something that you either had to build yourself or rely on a small builder for help. In 2007 you still had lots of races and still had to go out west. We had to actually do it twice and had a 10 hour race at Miller. So, it's not like that today, there is many more races or the logistics are completely different.

Again, where's the money going?
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Old 2 Jan 2018, 00:12 (Ref:3790225)   #12
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Then let's look at GS. In 2007, you had to build your own car or buy a race ready Mustang for $135K. If you went the non Mustang route, you were looking at $180K for a build. Then you had to carry all of your spares because there was not truck or manufacturer there with a truck and engineers. It was super expensive and IMSA figured out that GT4 was a much cheaper way of running in the class and they did cost cutting measures. In 2007, you had 10 races and 28.5 hours of racing. You needed a full blown crew for pit stops. So, IMSA cut the costs by reducing the hours of racing to 24 and reducing the practice time by 20%. Then they did away with tire handlers and a jack man.

In 2007, a front running GS season cost you $400K. Today that would be $478K adjusted for inflation. To run a front running GS car this year was $800K. So, you can see, the reduced cost of R&D, track time and crew has resulted in a $322K increase over what you could do in 2007 along with the IMSA cost cutting measures. Top it off, prize money has gone up 0% and instead of paying out to the top 20, it's only the top 5. So, the winner gets more money.

I still can't figure out where the money is going because it's not close to the US inflation rate. Plus, IMSA has been cutting costs for the GS teams. Best part is that a current GT4 car is getting closer to the speed of a 2007 Rolex GT car. So, that should work out well if they would incorporate GT4 into the big show because of the extra track time, it should be around 2007 Rolex GT costs then.
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Old 2 Jan 2018, 13:39 (Ref:3790301)   #13
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The cost of doing a front running Rolex GT car in 2007 was $1.5M. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $1.72M or 1.5%. The cost of running a front running GTD car today is around $2.8M.

So why is racing running at an inflation rate of 86%? Think about it. It doesn't cost 86% more to transport, feed and lodge crew than it did back in 2007.
In 2007, Rolex GT didn't include the Sebring 12h or Petit Le Mans.
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Old 2 Jan 2018, 15:37 (Ref:3790324)   #14
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In 2007, Rolex GT didn't include the Sebring 12h or Petit Le Mans.
Right, so Rolex GT in 2007 had 61 hours of racing, spread over 13 race weekends. IMSA today has 71.5, with the four NAEC races alone coming in at 52h.

Now, on paper that's a 17% increase in track time, though it shouldn't result in less than a 17% increase in budget, since its spread across a significantly smaller number of race weekends.

So the longer schedule even when combined with inflation is not enough of an explanation for the increased costs.
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Old 2 Jan 2018, 15:43 (Ref:3790325)   #15
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Understanding that the GT4 cars are much cheaper than GT3 on initial purchase, is there really much difference in running costs when it comes to the costs that don't change? I.e. tires and fuel. If you ran a GT4 car for the same length of time (full IMSA season) as a GT3 car, would it really be exponentially cheaper, or would it just be a few hundred thousand dollars.

Unless it was MUCH much cheaper, I can't see it appealing to many people. The GS teams and drivers wouldn't be able to afford it, and the current GTD teams (or more specifically, the paying drivers) wouldn't necessarily find the slower GT4 cars all that attractive? The John Potters and Christina Nielsens of the world have the money to drive the fancy exciting cars, and stepping it back to GT4 may lose their interest.
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