SRO, the organiser of the British GT Championship, regarded as the premier national GT championship globally, has announced changes to the GT3 format and classifications.
The intention is to place renewed emphasis on amateur and young professional drivers in the top tier of the championship.
Included in the changes to the format of a race weekend is the additional driving time required by an amateur driver being increased from 50 to 60 minutes, meaning that the compulsory driver change will occur between the 60th and 70th minute in a two-hour race. There will also be an additional 10 minutes of free practice, extending the second FP session to one hour.
A special trophy will also be presented to the winning Silverstone 500 crew, to affirm the significance of the mid-season three-hour race. The newly designed trophy will have the names of winners from 2011 onwards engraved on it.
Perhaps the most significant change to the structure of GT3 racing will be the introduction of a new Silver/Am classification. This is intended to attract the semi-pro driver who has a budget but lacks experience in GT3 machinery.
Additionally, Am/Am driving partnerships will receive 150% of the championship points available for a top-ten finish.
In order to encourage more factories to engage Platinum-rated drivers, cars featuring Platinum-rated will no longer have to carry any additional ballast.
“Clearly British GT has become incredibly competitive,” said Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici. “That’s proven by less than three-tenths covering our top-seven amateur drivers and four different manufacturers in qualifying at Donington Park. The Pro class is also operating at an incredibly high level thanks to several factory drivers plying their trade with us.”
“But while this is something we’re proud of and have no intention of restricting, it’s also an area that SRO and our teams have identified as a potential stumbling block for new drivers,” continued Franassovici. “We’ve worked very hard to rectify this and, in terms of co-operation and understanding, I don’t think the organiser and teams have ever enjoyed a better relationship. All are committed to a thriving GT3 class.”
The 2017 British GT Championship opens at Oulton park on April 15 – 17.