Whilst by recent standards it’s a fairly quiet season for new GT3 machinery, the junior GT racing formula, GT4, looks set to welcome a bumper crop.
In part that means that some new cars will see their racing debuts this year, Others offset to emerge from a development season into customers hands in numbers and yet another are set to be revealed ahead of track testing or even race debut much later this year.
AC Cobra GT4
Plans for an “FIA homologated GT4” version of the now German built ‘official’ AC Cobra is, apparently, set to be revealed at the Autosport Show in Birmingham this month.
Yes we’ve heard of race versions of this car before (GT3 and GTE were the last utterances – that back in 2014) so we’ll take a ‘wait and see’ approach here.
Audi Sport R8 GT4
Very likely to be the next project from the Audi Customer Sport outfit, Chris Reinke’s merry band having determined that the Audi TT in whatever iteration might well be outgunned by the current upward development curve in GT4.
There’s little more to say about this project with nothing known about timelines, or indeed about the potential powertrain with current industry rumours predicting an entry level R8 (replacing the now discontinued V8). Options include (apparently!) a V6 engine, potentially with an electric supercharger! That option would seem, in many ways, a more appropriate option than the V10 in the range topping R8.
BMW M4 GT4
Announced in July last year as an official customer sport offering from BMW for 2018 customer deliveries – and going head to head with the privately developed Ekris M4 GT4.
The official GT4 version carries over the entire powertrain from the roadgoing M4 including the turbocharged 3 litre inline 6.
The early test cars have been testing in private with the factory since the original test car’s roll-out in September and will see its race debut next weekend at the Dubai 24 Hours, part of a limited race programme whilst still in the hands of the factory development team.
Ford Mustang GT4
November’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas saw the unveiling of the latest iteration of racing Ford Mustang, The Mustang GT4.
The new car, designed and engineered with Multimatic Motorsports, debuts at Daytona later this month in the Rolex 24 Hours supporting opening round of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, a successor to last season’s Championship winning Ford Shelby GT350R-C.
The Mustang GT4 is powered by a new naturally aspirated 5.2L V8 racing engine, engineered, validated and built by Ford Performance in partnership with Roush Yates Engines.
McLaren 570S GT4
Announced (and raced) in development form last season with some success, the McLaren 570S GT4 is arriving in numbers with customers for 2016 competition with cars already confirmed for the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge (6 cars on the entry for the Daytona season opener), Australia and the UK.
The ‘baby’ racing McLaren is proving very popular with customers, expect plenty more announcements of car sales in the coming weeks and months.
Mercedes AMG GT4
The latest addition to the growing squadron of GT4 offerings has come from Mercedes AMG with a GT4 version of the GT coupe.
There has been very little revealed as yet in terms of both the technical package for the new car and the timescale for its introduction into competition with 2018 deliveries the most likely first opportunity.
Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4
Delays to deliveries of the new for 2017 in-house Cayman GT4 derivative (not the Clubsport version which was available for the start of the 2016 season) saw tempers flare as customers waiting for cars for 2016 competition saw delivery dates move away from a point where a full seasons competition was feasible.
Deliveries to customers were underway by the middle of the year as cars came on stream from the production base established by Porsche at Manthey Racing. Porsche though missed an opportunity to corner a larger slice of a growing market as the other cars listed above come on stream.
A steady growth in the number of Series and Championships that welcome FIA GT4 machinery is continuing, In North America both the GTS class in Pirelli World Challenge, and the IMSA-organised Continental Tire Sportscar Championship are set to welcome an array of GT4 newbies with numbers in the season opener for the Conti Challenge looking much stronger than in 2016.
In Europe a recasting of the GT4 EuroSeries to grasp the opportunity offered by the implosion of the French GT Championship sees Northern and Southern European sister Series for 2017.
The already strong contingent of GT4s in the British GT Championship looks set to grow stronger still and, amongst other markets Australia looks set to see an increase in GT4 interest too as many industry watchers predict GT4 a being the next ‘big thing’.