FIA GT3 European Championship


FIA GT3 European Championship

The FIA GT3 European Championship is a sports car racing series organized by the Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO) and regulated by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). It is a championship derived from the international FIA GT Championship, but meant to provide competition for more amateur racers in closer to production machines.

FIA GT3 European Championship races serve as support races for the larger FIA GT Championship races, as well as competing alongside the faster and more expensive FIA GT cars in the Spa 24 Hours.

History

The FIA GT3 European Championship was launched in 2006 as a way to expand manufacturer involvement in motorsports as well as to help amateur drivers across Europe. It attempts to combine multiple one-make series into a larger event with a race within a race, teams competing not only to beat others in their own manufacturer cup but also to win the overall race.

In the future, the FIA and SRO plan to not only expand the overall European championship, but also to help in the development of multiple one-make series across Europe, similar to the Ferrari Challenge and Porsche Supercup.

Vehicles

Following in the established name usage from FIA GT, GT3 differs from its GT1 and GT2 counterparts by using more low-cost engineering and design elements in the development of the road cars to their racing counterparts, as well as attempting to make all cars equal. Unlike FIA GT's GT1 and GT2, the GT3 class cars are not allowed to be developed by their manufacturers over the course of a racing season. Manufacturers simply provide a ready-to-race car to a customer and the teams are limited in what they can alter from production specs. All cars that participate in GT3 must be allowed permission and equalized with the competition by the FIA.

The following cars are currently allowed in FIA GT3:
* Ascari KZ1-R
* Aston Martin DBRS9
* Chevrolet Corvette Z06.R
* Dodge Viper Competition Coupe
* Ferrari F430 GT3
* Ford GT GT3
* Ford Mustang FR500GT3
* Jaguar XKR GT3
* Lamborghini Gallardo GT3
* Morgan Aero 8 GT3
* Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S

The Jaguar XKR, Ford Mustang FR500GT, Ford GT, and Morgan Aero 8 were added to the homologation list for 2007, while the Venturi Atlantique silhouette, Maserati Trofeo, and Lotus Exige were all dropped due to lack of participation. Audi have announced an R8 GT3 for the 2009 season, as has tuner Alpina who will produce the B6 GT3, a racing variant of the BMW 6-Series.

Mosler Deutschland in association with Rollcentre Racing, official importer of the Mosler marque in Europe, announced a MT900 GT3 for the series but their homologation was rejected for the European Championship. The car was however accepted for the Belcar and British GT Championships.

Teams are limited to a maximum of 3 cars, with each car having 2 drivers. A team must use the same type of car for each of their entries.

Drivers

The drivers in FIA GT3 are not on the same level as those in FIA GT, in that they are intended to be more amateur drivers then the professionals who are hired in FIA GT. The term gentleman driver is that most commonly used to describe the drivers in FIA GT3. However, in order to ensure that the drivers in FIA GT3 are of amateur status, the FIA put into place rules regarding what determines a driver's skill level. [http://www.fiagt3.com/faq.php]

Drivers under the age of 55 who fit the following criteria are not allowed in FIA GT3:
* Has held an FIA Super Licence or Grade A License.
* Has finished in the Top 10 in Formula 3000, A1 Grand Prix, GP2, Indy Racing League, or Champ Car World Series.
* Has finished in the Top 6 of any international or national Formula 3 championship.
* Has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright.
* Has been a hired works driver for a major automobile manufacturer.
* Has achievements or performances which, according to the SRO and FIA, deem that individual a professional racing driver.

Exception to this is that drivers over the age of 45 can petition the SRO and FIA to be allowed to race even with prior professional experience.

Races

For each event in the FIA GT3 season, two individual races are held. Each driver on the two car team qualifies the car individually, and then starts each of the two races from their respective starting position, with one driver starting the first race and the other driver starting the second race. Each race requires one pit stop, where the team must switch between the two drivers, as well as change all four tires. Each team is limited to only two crew members in the pits during a pit stop. All races are one hour in length.

Championships

FIA GT3 attempts to present itself as a gathering of cup races. Besides the fact that all cars are individually fighting against others to have a race win, cars are also meant to be competing against cars of their same make. Each individual make in GT3 has their own respective drivers championship alongside the overall GT3 Teams Championship and Drivers Championship.

Points are awarded to the top eight on the scale of 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1, with each car in a team scoring points even if multiple entries finish in scoring positions.

imilar series

On November 29, 2006, the German ADAC launched a race series known as GT Masters, which will be a national level series for FIA GT3 cars. Their initial season in 2007 will feature six races (all but one in Germany), serving as support races for the 24 Hours Nürburgring and Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters. [http://www.the-paddock.net/content/view/240873/49/] The series is the first national level version of FIA GT3, with more likely to be added.

Various other championships are also running now which allow GT3-spec cars to participate, notably British GT, FFSA GT, Belcar and Australian GT Championship.

The SRO and FIA are also running a similar championship, known as the FIA GT4 European Cup, which uses a similar formula but less powerful machines and further restrictions on the professionalism of drivers. It began in 2007.

ee also

* 2006 FIA GT3 European Championship season

External links

* [http://www.fiagt3.com/ Official FIA GT3 European Championship website]
* [http://www.fia.com/sport/Championships/Secondary/2006/gt3.html FIA review of the GT3 European Championship]


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