So that was the World GT1 Championship. Sadly the series is already past tense, after three seasons and 29 championship races around the globe. The positives were the two extra seasons we got to witness the last hurrahs of the fire-breathing GT1 monsters, a respite for the big cars in the face of spiralling costs and manufacturer disinterest. The circuits that World GT1 visited were again generally all high quality and included some classic tracks (Interlagos, Spa, Brno, Yas Marina) and some epic gladiatorial races where drivers seemed to think they were competing on short-track demolition derbies rather than in million-dollar supercar racers! 2010 was a classic year, when Speedhunters followed the Sumo Power team’s pair of Nissan GT-Rs and quartet of drivers as they chased the inaugural world title.
On the flip side, a negative was the inauspicious start to virtually every season, with late deals and calendar changes affecting the final two seasons in particular, and a seemingly deliberate unwillingness to go along with what the manufacturers – the actual car builders – envisaged the future of GT racing would look like. Even now the FIA and SRO are at loggerheads on the future on GT racing, with the former proposing an equalisation programme between GTE and GT3: an idea that looks like being bitterly resisted by the SRO, who see GT3 as their property.
Back to the good things: even in its final 2012 tweaked GT3 spec the racing in World GT1 was still intense and the efforts of the teams beyond question, though the ever-reducing grid count and dilution of cars between GT1-Lite and GT3 led to the virtual implosion of both series by the end of the year. The release of the 2012 season review video shows off all that was good about the series: close, brutal, door-to-door racing between the most exotic race-prepped supercars on the planet, and that’s definitely something to be celebrated.
It's truly sad that we have far more experienced, talented, and (most importantly) safe drivers than there are seats in professional motorsports.
Its truly, truly sad that GT1 is now gone. I watched as they outlawed the interesting cars, tweaked rules, butted heads and eventually doomed their own coverage by selling the rights to unknown providers with no audience at all, so it went out not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with the lonely finality of a candle sputtering out in an empty cold room.
Lets hope for more variety and more power in the WEC, as thats where all the teams went :)
ChristianClark The GT1 series was a little doomed from the get-go. Stefan Ratel had to personally finance several of the teams from the first year and the format, while TV friendly, is a real departure from sportscar endurance racing. The rules changed because participation was dwindling and they had to move to modified GT3s in order to have a chance at beating the 16 car promoter's minimum and "world championship" standing with the FIA. SRO is a great organization and runs the Blancpain series well, but this one did not work out. Most of these teams will end up back in Blancpain and the ADAC GT Master's series as the WEC does not have a place for GT3 spec machinery.