A Guide through the Confusing World of GT Classeswillkinton2472/24/14 2:12pmFiled to: Sports CarsRacingGuideGT ClassesGTEGT3GT46033EditPromoteShare to KinjaGo to permalink The GT classes of sports car racing offer some of the most exciting and diverse forms of Motorsport, with many road-based cars of different specifications often sharing the track at the same time. This leads to great racing, but understanding the differences between them can be difficult. Here I will attempt to differentiate between the GT classes, so that you may enjoy the sport more fully. Advertisement For the sake of clarity, we will stick to classes that currently exist. Attempting to research/explain GT classes before this point will get fairly confusing. I know this because I initially tried, and I got a headache. GTEGTE is currently the highest level of GT racing, and is further split into two levels, Pro and Am. GTE-Pro is largely defined by manufacturers and factory backed teams, and GTE-Am is for privateers. GTE-Am cars are required to be at least one year old or made to the previous year's specification. This category was called GT2 before 2011, and is called GTLM in the United SportsCar Championship. Advertisement GTE cars must meet certain specifications designed to keep them closely related to the road cars they are based on. This is known as homologation. In order for a car to qualify, a large manufacturer (like GM) must produce at least one road going version of the car per week, or one car a month for small manufacturers (like Ferrari). These cars must also be available for sale, with an official launch campaign for the road car and network through which the car can be sold. The cars must have only two doors, a two or 2+2 seating configuration, and have bona fide sporting ambitions. The car is not required to use the engine it is offered with (although it usually is), but it is required to be a production engine used in a road car. Carbon fiber, titanium and magnesium cannot be used outside of parts like spoilers and wheels, unless the road car has a carbon cockpit. All cars are rear-wheel-drive, and engine-based traction control is allowed. Also, in an interesting nod to the Le Mans era of old, every GTE car is required to have 150 cubic decimeters of luggage space. Cars Currently Racing in GTE:Aston Martin Vantage GTE BMW Z4 GTE Chevrolet Corvette C7.R Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR SRT Viper GTS-R Sponsored Cars Homologated for GTE, but not Currently Racing:BMW M3 GT2 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R Ferrari F430 GT2 Ford GT GT2 Jaguar XKR GT2 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 GT Lotus Evora GTE Panoz Esperante GT-LM Spyker C8 GT2R Advertisement These Series Currently Feature the GTE Class:FIA World Endurance Championship United SportsCar Championship European Le Mans Series Asian Le Mans Series International GT OpenHow Much Does a GTE Car Cost? Advertisement Cars in this spec will cost you about $750,000. GT3GT3 was initially launched in 2005 by the FIA, and was designed to fit under the GT2 specification. This category was designed to be much simpler and easier to drive than the GT1 and GT2 classes, so that amateurs and younger drivers could work their way up into higher levels of GT racing. This class has become the most popular class of GT racing in the world as it is present in most regional racing series all over the globe. In the United SportsCar Championship, GT3 cars are run in the GTD class with a different spec- rear wing. GT3 cars have no limit on engine sizes and configurations, chassis construction, or layout, but they must be based on road cars that are in mass production, and a large variety of cars have been homologated. Occasionally you will see privateers run older GT3 cars, even if they are not in production anymore. Advertisement Advertisement These cars have all been homologated for use in GT3, in alphabetical order. Some are no longer in use, but are still technically legal for use in GT3 races, even if they are not necessarily competitive. Those that have had their homologation expired are noted as such. Cars Currently Homologated for GT3:Ascari KZ1-R GT3 Aston Martin DBRS9 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 Audi R8 LMS (Including R8 LMS Ultra) Bentley Continental GT3 BMW Alpina B6 GT3 BMW Z4 GT3 Chevrolet Camaro GT3 Corvette Callaway Z06.R GT3 Corvette Z06.R GT3 Dodge Viper Competition Coupe Dodge Viper Competition Coupe Series 2 Ferrari 430 GT3 Ferrari 430 Scuderia GT3 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 Ford GT GT3 Ford Mustang FR500C GT Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 GT3 Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+ GT3 Lotus Exige GT3 Maserati Coupe Grand Sportif Light Maserati GranTurismo MC GT3 McLaren MP4-12C GT3 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 Morgan Aero 8 GT3 Morgan Aero Super Sport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 Porsche 911 997 GT3 Cup (2006 model only) Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S Porsche 911 GT3 R SRT Viper GT3-R Venturi Atlantique GT3 Heritage Advertisement Cars with Expired Homologation (No longer meet specification):Ford Mustang VDS GT3 (Homologation Expired) Jaguar XKR GT3 (Homologation Expired) Jaguar XKR-S GT3 (Homologation Expired)These Series Currently Feature the GT3 Class: Advertisement Advertisement 24 Hour Series ADAC GT Masters Asian Le Mans Series Australian GT Championship Belgian GT Championship Blancpain Endurance Series Brazilian GT Championship British GT Championship European Le Mans Series FFSA GT Championship FIA GT Series (Formerly Blancpain Sprint Series) GT Asia Series International GT Open Italian GT Championship Portuguese GT Championship Spanish GT Championship Superstars International Series (Formerly GTSprint International series) Super Taikyu Series Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring (More popularly known as VLN)These Series allow GT3 cars to compete against cars of different specifications:Dutch Supercar Challenge (In the GT Class) Pirelli World Challenge (Featured in the GT Class) United SportsCar Championship (Featured in GTD alongside the Porsche 911 GT America) Super GT (Featured in the GT300 category) Advertisement How Much Does a GT3 Car Cost? GT3 was designed to be cheaper to run, but a GT3 car will still set you back $420,000 GT4The GT4 class was created to support the GT3 class with a true low tech amateur sports car series. The GT4 class consists of cars that are much closer to the road cars they are based on over than the other classes featured here. GT4 cars are often referred to as "Track Day" cars, as they are at price points that make them very accessible to gentleman drivers who want racing experience. The GT4 class is often seen accompanying GT3 classes in series around the globe. You'll also see GT4 class cars compete in single make series. Advertisement Advertisement Cars are adjusted to have an almost identical performance level so that driver skill is highlighted, and once a car has been homologated it cannot be modified. This prevents a war of developmental cost increases, allowing the series to keep it a true amateur series. Cars Currently Racing in GT4:Aston Martin Vantage N24 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 BMW M3 GT4 BMW Z4 Corvette C6 Chevrolet Camaro Ford Mustang FR500 GT4 Ginetta G50 GT4 Maserati Gran Turismo MC Maserati Trofeo Mazda MX5 Nissan 350Z Nissan 370Z Porsche 997 GT4 Porsche Cayman Lotus Evora Advertisement There is also a Supersport category for lightweight cars. These cars are homologated into the GT4 Supersport category:Donkervoort D8GTKTM X-BowLotus 2-ElevenPeugeot 207 SpyderThese Series Currently Feature the GT4 Class: Advertisement Advertisement 24H Series Blancpain Endurance Series FIA GT4 European Series Many Regional GT ChampionshipsThese Series allow GT4 cars to compete against cars of different specifications:Pirelli World Challenge (Featured in the GTS Class) Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (Featured in the GS Class) Advertisement There are many more racing series that use the GT4 class or feature cars built to this spec, so if you know of any more, let me know. How Much Does a GT4 Car Cost? For the price of an exotic road car, you can get yourself a race ready GT4 car at around $250,000. Advertisement Advertisement I hope that this helps you understand the current world of GT racing a bit more. Sometime in the future, I'll write a post about how GT racing got to this point, but this is how it exists now. I did not include the Japanese GT500 class of Super GT and German DTM as a part of this guide, because those cars are Silhouette cars; while they may look like their road going counterparts, they actually have carbon fiber monocoques and tube frames, and share as much in common with their road going counterparts as Australian V8 Supercars.Photo Credits: IMSA, FIA WEC Website, Nurburgring.de, SRO Motorsports GroupI love racing and cars. I talk about that a lot on Twitter. Feel free to follow me at @willkinton247. If you want me to look into a particular series or topic, or have any feedback, let me know!