In this installment of Race Ready, Andrew Wojteczko a racer and current engineer with Mantella Autosport talks about easiest GT class to enter, GT4.
Grand Touring (GT) category racing is both a competitor and fan favourite, and with good reason. The racing is close and action packed, but perhaps more important is that road-going versions of the cars are available at local showrooms across the country. We’re certainly more likely to cheer on a specific make/model if we have one outside in the driveway. And if you want to know how affordable GT racing is, read on.
The way it used to be
In the last 20 years, GT racing was comprised predominately of cars developed by independent teams. Often road going versions of the cars were purchased and developed by the teams to meet specific series regulations (few of which were cross compatible). This presented a wide array of challenges.No two cars were ever built the same, and consequently it was near impossible for a series to establish an array of performance levels for the make/model that would ensure competitive parity.
The next major issue was the time and cost involved to develop a car. Building one off parts is expensive, and ask anyone who has built a project car, it takes at least twice as long to complete as you planned it would (I know this all too well).
The way it is now
Current GT racing (as seen in the Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS classes in North America) has adopted the SRO’s GT3 and GT4 formula.
Eligible cars for this format of competition are developed in conjunction with the vehicle manufacturers in volume, pass a series of performance equivalence and safety standards, and are then made available to customer race programs to purchase and campaign.
Right away this addresses the two major issues of years gone by. By manufacturing the vehicles in volume, vehicle purchase price can be lower as well as replacement parts and operating cost. By manufacturing each car to the same specification, sanctioning bodies can better establish the performance potential of the vehicles and better manage competitive parity.
Now we need to clear up the confusion surrounding the GT formula that Porsche’s marketing department has caused. The Porsche 911 GT3 road car is not a GT3 category race car, nor is the 911 GT3 cup car, rather the GT3R is the machine representative of current GT3 performance levels. Right, so you're thinking 'I just order my GT3R and go racing. A mere $600K USD and I’m off to the races?' Yes, you’re right, but GT3 category racing despite employing a new approach operates at a very high price point. Which leads us to the right formula, GT4.
GT4 cars currently include the Aston Martin Vantage V8 GT4, KTM XBow GT4, Sin R1, Ginetta G50 GT4, Cayman Clubsport GT4 (not the road going GT4 Cayman) and more coming including McLaren, Ford among others. Purchase price for GT4 category cars varies between $170K - 230K USD, and you get a ready to race car with good replacement parts availability and relatively low operating cost.
By making the car a constant, you can focus on improving as a driver, and that is what track days are all about.
Take the KTM Xbow (pronounced 'crossbow' by the way) GT4 for example, which features drool worthy components like a full carbon monocoque and body, inboard bellcrank suspension, Hollinger sequential gearbox and Audi 2.0T power. Yes the same powerplant found in your road going Audi S3 or Golf R.
This 360 horsepower powerplant is completely stock and follows a recommended replacement interval of 20,000 kilometres and is available from your local Audi dealer for under $10K. That is a $/km ratio unheard of in any other category. If you’re looking for a track day car that you can operate with limited support, reliability is fundamental. By making the car a constant, you can focus on improving as a driver, and that is what track days are all about. Not diagnosing why your new high output supercharger kit has put your car in limp mode after three laps or why your built high output engine has spun a bearing.
So if you’re thinking that GT category racing might be your next move or you’re looking for a killer track day car, be sure to give GT4 a serious look. You’re a phone call away from owning a high performance (think 1:23.00 at CTMP/Mosport with GT4 restrictions), safe (FIA crash tested), widely accepted (GT4 is supported throughout the world) car that offers an attractive purchase and operating cost.
About the Author:
Andrew Wojteczko, 34, graduated from Mechancial Engineering at Ryerson University in 2005 while partaking in the Formula SAE program. Since then he has competed with success as a driver in the Canadian Touring Car Championship and World Challenge series, achieved certification as a driver coach, engineered championship winning cars in F2000 US as well as Porsche GT3 cup. Currently you can find him managing/engineering the Mantella Autosport team competing in the Pirelli World Challenge series. When not at the track, he’s out riding bicycles of some variety.
Photos: Sawmill Creative