The 2023 Ford GT Mk IV is being released in limited numbers this year and the question must be asked, is this the ultimate track car?
In addition to the Ford GT Mk IV, I have a selection of news and developments from various motorsport series around the world including a number of SRO series from across the globe, the ascendancy of British GT, and two new TCR cars that are entering homologation.
All this and more in this week’s Motorsport Series Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.
SRO Motorsports Group has confirmed seven GT3 manufacturers for its global Fanatec GT World Challenge series, which is set to span four continents and 29 rounds this year. “The Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS is looking strong for 2023, with grids at capacity in Europe and Asia, as well as strong growth in America and Australia,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. “This is a remarkable global series, specifically designed for manufacturers involved in customer racing, where they can show their strength across the categories and around the world. We look forward to another year of top-class GT3 competition.”
SRO Motorsports Group is re-evaluating the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli calendar for 2024, which could feature fewer rounds according to Stephane Ratel. “We created [IGTC] because there was an interest from the manufacturers to have these big events,” Ratel said. “It’s down to what they want to. Between now and Spa, we need to speak to each manufacturer and say, ‘Do you want this and how do you want it?’ Will we do three races? Do we do four races? Do we do five races? ‘Of the ones we have potentially available, which ones are you interested in?’ From there, we will design the future of IGTC. We’re not going to drop [the series], but we’ll maybe have less rounds.”
The Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup will continue to race at Brands Hatch until 2025 at least under an extension of the current deal. Series organizer SRO Motorsports Group and circuit owner MotorSport Vision have furthered their agreement that confirms the British venue on the next two GTWC Europe calendars after 2023.
“SRO has significant history at this track and it has become one of the cornerstones of the Fanatec GT Sprint Cup since staging its first race meeting in 2014,” said SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. “Almost a decade on it remains immensely popular with both fans and drivers, so I expect a very positive reaction to the news that we will continue to visit through at least 2025.
Stephane Ratel said he’s been pleased with the state of SRO America, stressing that ‘consistency and stability’ have been keys to its continued success and growth. “You need consistency and stability,” Ratel said. “Clients need to believe in what you offer and you need to improve in every area, which we’re trying to do. We have come quite a way since we acquired the majority of this series. Initially we Europeanized it a little bit too much and that didn’t work. Now we have a full American management and we have Claude [Surmont, SRO technical director] working on the BoP and a bit of coordination on a global level with media and communication. When you start getting to the critical mass, particularly in GT4, you start having these big grids. I always say, racing is a dance floor. The more dancers on the dance floor, more people want to come even if they step on each others’ toes they are happy to be there.”
Autosport looks at British GT, the national series enjoying a Super Touring-esque boom. “There are numerous reasons for Super Touring being upheld as the British Touring Car Championship’s zenith over 20 years on. Close racing between cars that looked and sounded different, while bearing a similarity with those you might find in the supermarket car park, is surely a factor. But another is the glut of big-name drivers who had proven their worth all over the globe and brought real prestige.”
As the 2023 Porsche Club Motorsport Boxster Cup season kicks off, the reasons for women racers to get involved are growing. “There are many opportunities out there for women to go out racing and this is evident by Sarah’s story. The Porsche Boxster Cup is a great championship in which to develop racing skills and confidence plus, most importantly, have a lot of fun! Of course the whole motorsport paddock is accessible to all, whether that’s as a driver, engineer or any other role. It’s important we highlight the success stories and the ways for women to get into the sport across all disciplines.”
There will be a capacity grid in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland this year. “This year’s grid includes 32 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars fielded by ten teams. These are the ideal prerequisites for a gripping championship and I can’t wait for the season opener with a huge contingent of Porsche racing cars,” says Alexander Pollich, CEO of Porsche Deutschland GmbH.
The all-female F1 Academy is set to race exclusively at Formula One Grand Prix weekends in 2024. “I can confirm that next year the F1 Academy will be on the racing weekend of F1, of course not everywhere, but that will be part of the plan to promote the F1 Academy,” Domenicali told . “That’s really something that we are really keen to make sure will be hopefully the right booster for the season to grow.”
The new generation Lynk & Co 03 TCR and the all-new Honda Civic Type R FL5 are both undergoing homologation tests ahead of their debut in TCR competition this season. Both cars went through downforce and drag tests at the Pininfarina wind tunnel in Grugliasco, with engines from both cars having also undergone bench tests at ORAL Engineering in Modena.
Rally, Raid & Off-Road
The Checkered Flag got to speak with IODA president Kelly Kuether during which he gave his side of what prompted the split, his goals for IODA, and the impact he hopes it will have on sportsman short course off-road racing in the region. “The biggest issues with the rift that there was with SODA, point blank, was people were being treated poorly,” said Kuether. “It was being run more like a dictatorship. It didn’t matter what drivers wanted, it didn’t matter what people thought, it was going to be the owner’s way or no way. It had gotten to the point where now that we have gotten further into the offseason and heading towards the new season that points champions weren’t being paid. None of that was done. Just overall bad leadership.“
Meyers Manx is going back in time, signing on to become the presenting sponsor of the National Offroad Racing Association (NORRA) Mexican 1000 offroad race, which it won in 1967 — by five hours. According to a statement issued by the company, “Meyers Manx’s presenting sponsorship promises to boost the spirit of fun in Baja, where Manx will also debut the first of its remastered dune buggy kits in the Safari class.”
Miscellaneous Racing Series
Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) and its parent company IMSA will co-sanction the on-track competition events at the Rennsport Reunion 7 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, September 28 – October 1. The RR7 sanctioning bodies were confirmed by officials from Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) and host venue WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (WRLS).
“When IMSA and HSR announced the acquisition at last year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, we knew it was only a matter of time before our plans of working together on a co-sanctioned event weekend would become a reality,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “For IMSA and HSR to be able to work our first event together as part of a Rennsport Reunion at the amazing WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca makes it that much better. The HSR-run events will give the huge crowd in attendance an opportunity to celebrate Porsche icons of the past while the IMSA Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup races will provide the current and ultra-competitive racing that only an all-Porsche series can deliver.”
Looking for a track car? “The 2023 Ford GT Mk IV is a limited production model, only 67 will be built, as an homage to the original Mk IV that took the victory at the grueling 1967 24 hours of Le Mans, the 2023 model gets a bespoke body, a custom powertrain and suspension setup, created by Ford Performance and Multimatic, this is the most extreme Ford GT ever with an unconstrained performance from a unique to this model twin-turbo EcoBoost engine, add a racing transmission, some impressive, purely aero-focused exterior design, and even a longer wheelbase chassis for improved on-track handling.”
Want to take the Revolution 427 and the 500SC out for a test drive? Then get in touch with them to attend a test day and see how similar the cars are to an LMP machine. They work with a range of premium track day organizers to offer tailor-made packages for testing, track experiences and corporate events. Their tests are usually held at open pit lane days and are limited to 4 drivers per day so you can enjoy your first experience at the wheel of the Revolution with an instructor on site who will be there to guide you. More details can be found here.
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