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Old 30 Dec 2017, 12:19 (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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