How to Fix Sportscar Racing

March 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm


Photo By J. Grabowski - From 2011 Baltimore GP

I love Sportscar racing because it blends teamwork, technology, all out speed and tactics. I’ve been hooked recently on watching many old World Sportscar Racing and Le Mans year end review films on the great site

While it remains a love of mine, I’ve grown disheartened with big time Sportscar racing over the past few years. The combination of small car counts (and therefore lack of competition), no worldwide rules standard and what has become the annual Volkswagen parade in France each June has made me think of how Sportscar racing can get back to the glory days of the 70’s and 80’s

1. Four Classes: IMSA had it right when they had two prototype classes (GTP and Lights) and two Gran Touring classes (GTO and GTU). Have prototype classes be divided by dimensions, engine size and car weight, allow things such as hybrid technology in the “GTP” class but not in the “Lights” class. In the Gran Touring classes have it set up similar with more supercar like racers race in a GTO class and smaller lighter, less powered cars in a “GTU” class.

2. Give Privateers a chance: Porsche had it right in the 80’s: have a factory team but sell cars to privateers who can be competitive and beat the factory on occasion. Porsche understood that a Porsche winning (factory or not) makes the breed better, improves development (by having more cars out there) and helps the cash flow with people buying cars and spares. Also, don’t forget the win Ads, the average Joe is impressed when a make sweeps the top five, factory team or not. Make it mandatory that any factory racing program must sell cars to privateers and sell them cars that are the least the previous year’s spec. Enforce a ceiling on the amount that a manufacturer can charge for a car and spares and create a rule where for every two cars entered by a factory program there must be a car entered by a privateer.

3. Rules: Create a global rules package so domestic series can operate and those cars running in domestic series can enter the world championship event in their home country. In watching old end of the year WSC films one of the more interesting things was when the championship went to Japan and the race featured an influx of those teams and manufacturers running in the domestic championship.

4. Open Engine Formula: What killed big time sportscar racing was there was clear divide between the haves and have nots in the early 90’s when the WSC went to the then Formula 1 3.5 engine formula (Which was Bernie’s way of getting the manufacturers in WSC to go to F1…gee look you already have an engine that fits our rules). One of great concepts of John Bishop when he created the GTP rules was to base the engine equivalency formula off of a Chevy 350 that anyone could buy and go racing with. Base the top class engine formula off of the Judd engine (or whatever the basic customer engine is) that anyone with enough cash can buy. Allow for different types of cylinder configurations and turbos if desired.

5. Cost: At the end of the day it all comes down to cost, keeps the finances in check. Cap budgets in all areas except for driver salaries. By keeping costs down the potential is there to have a grid full of professional teams all with a chance to be very competitive.


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