No fewer than 60 GT3 cars lined up for the first round of the Blancpain endurance series at Monza back in April.
In a tough financial climate, that’s a clear vindication for a racing formula that has risen rapidly to prominence.
Central to the GT3 formula is the Balance of Performance (BOP). This FIA-regulated system of juggling weights, power outputs and aerodynamics creates a performance-levelling effect that allows a wide diversity of cars to take part on an equal footing, and it means a Chevrolet Camaro can race against a Ferrari 458 and a Porsche 911. Having built their cars to a tightly written rule book, the teams congregate at a test day where an official FIA driver laps in every car, after which their performance is equalised using the BOP formula.
The JRM Racing Nissan GT-R you see here is a relative newcomer to the class, and it certainly stands out next to the Lamborghinis and Audi R8s. The GT3 GT-R costs £320,000 plus taxes (good value compared with some rivals), and a season’s racing should set you back around £1 million.
The fairly predictable expenditure and on-track competitiveness are key to GT3’s popularity. Here’s how the road and race GT-Rs compare.
JRM starts with a standard body shell, which is strengthened partly with the fitment of an FIA-spec roll cage. The GT3 car shares only its basic monocoque, sills and parts of the side panels with the road car. A fuel filler system is fitted, as are carbonfibre wheel arch extensions and swollen carbonfibre bodywork. Mesh panels in the wheel wells prevent track debris from damaging the car’s underside. The windscreen ‘glass’ is actually polycarbonate.