Group GT1, also known simply as GT1, was a set of regulations maintained formerly by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), for Grand Tourer racing. The category was first created in 1993, as the top class of the BPR Global GT Series, and was included in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It fell under FIA regulation from 1997, after the BPR series came under the control of the FIA, becoming known as the FIA GT Championship. The category was dissolved at the end of 2011. The category may be split into four distinctive eras, from its debut in 1993–1996, 1997–1998, 2000–2009, 2010–2011.[1][2][3][4]

The McLaren F1 GTR, a GT1 car from the early era, which made its debut in 1995. This car is chassis #06R, also known as #29 Harrods Mach One Racing

Early years (1993–1996) Edit

Jaguar XJ220 GT, used in the Italian GT Championship in 1993

The class which was to become known as "GT1" was debuted by the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest) at the 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans, under the name Group GT.[5][2] The class was first defined in the FIA Appendix J regulations, as Group GT, in 1993.[6]

Ferrari F40 GTE LMGT1 at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans

In 1994, following the collapse of the FIA World Sportscar Championship in 1992, BPR Global GT series was founded by Jürgen Barth, Patrick Peter, and Stephane Ratel (with their last names forming the name of series organizer BPR), as a championship for privateers, with four hour long endurance races.[7] Barth, an ex Le Mans winner, was manager of the customer competitions department at Porsche, Peter was a well-respected race promoter, while Ratel was an executive/investor in the Venturi GT1 project. The Series had four categories, namely GT1-4, with each decreasing number signifying increased freedom in its technical regulations. By 1996 however, the championship had grown, with the grids of the championship growing due to an influx of cars from several makes in the top GT1 class, such as the McLaren F1 GTR, and the new Porsche 911 GT2 Evolution based on the new 993 chassis, which replaced the 964 platform 911 Carrera RSRs that had once dominated the series grids. In addition, professional teams had also begun to enter the championship that had once been intended for privateers, which caused costs to increase dramatically.[7] Porsche even sent in a factory team to several rounds, with its 911 GT1, which was thought by most in the series paddock as being built against of the spirit of the rules, due to the fact that it was a Porsche 962 with just the front of the chassis being shared with a Type 993 911, and it having a street variant simply for the sake of meeting its homologation requirement.[1][8] The homologation special method was not new however, with Porsche having already earlier collaborated with Dauer Sportwagen to race the Dauer 962 Le Mans in 1994 (at the time of homologation, only one road car existed) to effectively score the last Le Mans victory for the Porsche 962 series, and Toyota heavily modifying the Toyota MR2 into the SARD MC8-R for the following year's race, also joined by a more pure road derived Toyota Supra and national rivals Nissan Skyline GT-R (both of which had also competed in JGTC with identical specifications) and Honda NSX that year.

Prototype years (1997–1998) Edit

Porsche 911 GT1 (993) which would mark the beginning of the GT1 Prototype era

Following the loss of Patrick Peter from the BPR Organisation, the BPR Organisation evolved into the Stephane Ratel Organisation, with the SRO now co-organising the championship with the FIA. With this change, it saw an even larger influx of professional teams and manufacturers, with the whole grid of the GT1 class consisting of nothing but professional teams.[1] The 1997 season saw the entry of the Mercedes-AMG Team, who would debut the CLK GTR. Similar to the 911 GT1, the CLK GTR was yet another homologation special prototype, with the car only being a racing-version of a production Grand Tourer in name. The car had no street legal version even built by the time the category collapsed in 1999, and shared only the instrumentation, front grille and the four headlamps with the normal CLK (C208). That same season, realising that the F1 GTR would not be competitive against the homologation specials, McLaren also updated the bodywork of the car, with the alterations so significant that they were forced to build a road car with the updated bodywork, effectively turning the car into a homologation special. The resulting car was known as the F1 GT, with three being built.[9] In 1998, realising that with the introduction of the updated CLK LM, and the 911 GT1-98, the F1 GTR could no longer be competitive, McLaren withdrew backing from the program, following BMW which had done so the previous year, in 1997, although two cars would still be entered by Parabolica Motorsports and Davidoff Classic. In 1999, following the total domination of the Mercedes-AMG team in the Championship in the previous season, which saw them win all races in the championship, with both the CLK GTR and LM, no GT1 teams entered the category, apart from the Mercedes-AMG Team. As such, the FIA chose to run the 1999 FIA GT Championship with just the GT2 class.[10]

GTS "GT1" (1999–2009) Edit

The Maserati MC12 was the dominant car in the category from its full-season debut in 2005, clinching three drivers championships and five teams championships from 2005 to 2009. It would later earn the drivers and teams title in the 2010 FIA GT1 World Championship
The dominant Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, which clinched four straight teams championships and three drivers championships (2001-2004)
The mighty Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, which won four straight titles (teams' and drivers' championships) in the ALMS (2005-2008)
The Dodge Viper GTS-R, which won two straight championships in the ALMS (1999, 2000)

Following the omission of the original GT1 category in the 1999 season, the FIA GT Championship was restructured, such that original GT2 class would be elevated to the top class of the championship, and become known as GT while a new class, N-GT would be the lower class in the championship. The equivalent of this in ACO sanctioned Championships would be the GTS class, and the GT class. In 2005, both classes would become renamed as "GT1" and "GT2" respectively. The Maserati MC12 would be the dominant car of this era, with it earning five consecutive teams titles from 2006 to 2009 for the Vitaphone Racing Team in the FIA GT Championship.[11]

List of FIA GT1 cars Edit

1995–1998 Group GT1
Homologation Manufacturer Model Date Notes
GT1-1 McLaren F1 GTR January 1995 Includes 1996 and 1997 upgrades. Originally homologated as GT-1 before renumbered as GT1-1.
GT1-2 Jaguar XJ220 GT January 1996
GT1-3 Porsche 911 GT1 March 1997 Includes 911 GT1 Evolution variant.
GT1-4 Panoz GTR-1 April 1997
GT1-5 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR April 1997
GT1-6 Lotus Elise GT1 Turbo April 1997
GT1-8 Lamborghini Diablo 132 GT1 April 1998
GT1-9 Porsche 911 GT1-98 April 1998
GT1-11 Mercedes-Benz CLK LM July 1998
1995–1999 Group GT2[12]
2000–2004 Group GT
Homologation Manufacturer Model Date Notes
GT2-1 Jaguar XJ220 April 1995
GT2-2 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8 August 1995 964-generation 911
GT2-3 Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 January 1996 993-generation 911
GT2-4 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8 April 1996 993-generation 911
GT2-5 Chrysler Viper GTS-R April 1996
GT2-6 Saleen Mustang SR April 1997
GT2-7 Renault Sport Spider May 1997
GT-008 Lister Storm GT April 1999 Originally homologated as GT2-8 before being renumbered as GT-008.
GT-009 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup April 1999 Originally homologated as GT2-9 before being renumbered as GT-009. 996-generation 911.
GT-010 Marcos Mantara LM600 June 1999 Originally homologated as GT2-10 before being renumbered as GT-010.
GT-011 Ferrari F50 August 1999 Originally homologated as GT2-11 before being renumbered as GT-011.
GT-012 Maserati 3200GT April 2002
GT-013 Saleen S7R April 2003
GT-014 Ferrari 575-GTC Competizione October 2003
GT-015 Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT April 2004
GT-016 Aston Martin DBR9 June 2004
GT-017 Maserati MC12 GT1 November 2004
2005–2011 Group GT1
Homologation Manufacturer Model Date Notes
GT1-001 Saleen S7R May 2006 Redesigned variant of the S7R based on S7 Twin Turbo.
GT1-002 Chevrolet Corvette C6.R May 2006
GT1-003 Nissan GT-R GT1 May 2009
GT1-101 Nissan GT-R GT1 April 2010 Redesigned variant of the GT-R GT1.
GT1-102 Lamborghini Murciélago LP670 R-SV April 2010
GT1-103 Ford GT1 April 2010

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c "GT Racing in the late 90s: The return of sportscars".
  2. ^ a b Quiniou, Louis (November 11, 2020). "#Focus – GT1 and it's [sic] true loophole story". Archived from the original on 16 November 2022. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  3. ^ "SRO Motorsports Group to celebrate 30th anniversary with historic GT race at TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa". Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS. February 18, 2022.
  4. ^ "Gallery>> Fia Gt1 World Championship Launch". Speedhunters. March 5, 2010.
  5. ^ "The History Of Le Mans 1993". 3 May 2021. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  6. ^ "fédération internationale de l'automobile annuaire du sport automobile '93 year book of automobile sport 26e édition/26th edition" (PDF). Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  7. ^ a b "BPR Global GT Series |". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  8. ^ Limited, Last Gear Publishing & Mobiventura (28 June 2018). "This is the story of the Porsche 911 GT1". Drive Mag. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  9. ^ "1997 McLaren F1 GT | Review". 2016-04-18. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  10. ^ "The CLK GTR: My Hero Car". Speedhunters. 2018-08-27. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  11. ^ "REPORT: Nissan GT-R, Maserati MC12 heading to Le Mans". Autoblog. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  12. ^ "Group GT2 - FIA Historic Database". Retrieved 26 March 2023.