Between meetings, conversations and discussions, interesting things came to light this week in the GT front, mentioning BMW, Viper and GT convergence.
-BMW is planning on building a full fledged LMGTE machine to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other ACO-regulated events, eventually replacing the specially developed BMW M6 GTLM, which can only run in the IMSA Sportscar Championship. Jens Marquardt explained to Sporstcar365 that the M6 GTLM is more like an outcome of the manufacturer planning itself for the discussed GT convergence plan, which eventually came to a halt. While a prototype program is still on the cards, the GTE car should easier and quicker to build according to Marquardt, and the new car could be racing as early as 2018;
-And while at the GT convergence matter, it seems that the topic may be back in the talks between manufacturers and the FIA, as the concept raised a lot of interest from the manufacturer side. Discussions date back of 2013, but differences on restrictors were the point where any of the parts could settle for an agreement, but now both LMGTE and GT3 cars have turbo engines and the technical differences between the two classes aren’t that huge, with the best example being the Ferrari 488, which is the most easily switchable car in the field, with the GTE and GT3 versions sharing a lot of parts.
With the effort to make cars get into the highest number of specifications possible, the idea is pretty attractive, but needs to be able to comprise both a development ground for manufacturers and a cost-effective run for customer teams and amateurs. If it succeeds, it can lead to the creation of a FIA GT World Championship, another idea on the cards for the worldwide motorsport organization;
-With the LMGTE evolving in the new set of regulations as a whole in 2017, the SRT Viper GTS-R GTE is in its last year of competition availability, and it may return for a last race in the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas thanks to Ben Keating and the Riley Technologies squad, as an entry request for the race was sent to FIA. Their car was upgraded with new parts for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was sent to the reserve list and then withdrawn, so Riley’s attentions turned towards a last one-off appearance, that can be blocked due to grid numbers, as it is expected that the car numbers for the 6h of CotA have reached the maximum;
-It seems that Asia may get another endurance race with possibility of being big like the Sepang 12 Hours, as a Korean promoter created the Race123, which will be a 1230 kilometer race around the Korean International Circuit at Yeongam, welcoming GT3, GTC, sports production and touring production cars to the challenge of prizes that summed can get to US$ 500.000. The GT Asia regular venue is expected to feature 60 cars, and will occur on April 20th-22nd, 2017.
PHOTOS: BMW Team RLL, European Le Mans Series, ViperExchange, GT Asia