USRRC Announces Revamped 1998 Rules
7 April 1998ENGLEWOOD, Colo: The United States Road Racing Championship has announced a new rules package for the remainder of the 1998 season, creating performance parity between unibody GT1 cars and Can-Am cars while encouraging more participation in GT2 and GT3.
Under the new rules package ratified by the USRRC Board of Directors, unibody GT1 cars will compete under modified 1997 FIA GT regulations, providing lower minimum weight and greater fuel capacity than the regulations allowed at the 1998 Rolex 24 At Daytona USRRC season-opener. The only variance from the 1997 FIA rules is the allowance of anti-lock brakes.
The new rules will allow closer competition between GT1 and Can-Am, with either class positioned to claim the overall victory in combined events (Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio). The USRRC has also extended an invitation for the FIA-spec GT1 entries to contest the overall victory during the stand-alone Can-Am races at Homestead and Minneapolis.
"While we have a great show with the Can-Am cars, we realize it's still growing as a class. The mystique and speed of the exotic GT1 machines offers a perfect opportunity for the USRRC to create additional excitement in the current Can-Am races," said Robert Snodgrass, USRRC Board of Directors Chairman. "Our goal is to eventually have a full field of Can-Am cars racing competitively as a stand-alone event, but for now, we've invited the FIA-spec GT1 cars to go head-to-head with the world's fastest prototypes to provide the best possible show for fans and promoters."
"We're extremely pleased with the USRRC's decision to provide an equal playing field between GT1 and the Can-Am prototypes," said Alwin Springer, Director of Porsche Motorsport North America. "Porsche has a long history in endurance racing, and the opportunity to compete head-to-head for the overall victory is important for us as a manufacturer, and is good for the fans. We accept the USRRC's invitation and will be supporting Porsche 911 GT1 entries."
The new rules also permit the entry of tube-frame cars into the GT2 class. While the performance level and focus for GT2 will remain with FIA-spec cars such as the Porsche, Saleen, Viper and new Corvette GT2s, tube-frame cars have been regulated to compete on equal ground and contest class wins. Tube-frame GT1 competitors that scored points at the Rolex 24 may elect to remain in GT1 for the balance of the season with additional performance enhancements.
"While there are very few of the exotic and expensive FIA GT1 cars regularly competing in the United States, those that do race here make it virtually impossible for a tube-frame GT1 car to run for a class win," added Snodgrass. "Tube-frame racing is a traditional part of endurance racing in North America, and still provides the most cost-effective means to compete. These rules ensure the inclusion of all competitors in North America on a platform to provide equal and exciting racing."
The GT3 class has also received a boost with the inclusion of SCCA World Challenge Touring 1 cars. World Challenge cars competing in GT3 will be allowed to run slicks and wings, and like in GT2, the performance for the class is based on current GT3 standards. The addition allows cars such as the Acura NSX, Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro, Dodge Viper and Ford Mustang Cobra the ability to compete in USRRC without making the expensive performance modifications necessary be competitive in GT2 trim.
"The addition of these cars in GT2 and GT3 encourages both manufacturers and independents to get involved in road racing and the USRRC," continued Snodgrass. "More participation creates a better package for promoters and brings competition to a level that is more exciting for fans and competitors."
NEW USRRC GT RULES HIGHLIGHTS:
GT will remain a three-class category: GT1, GT2 and GT3.
Unibody GT1 cars now run under 1997 FIA specifications, with the inclusion of anti-lock brake systems. This includes changes in weight, restrictor size and fuel capacity from rules run at the 1998 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
FIA GT1 cars may compete in an invitational class which races with Can-Am when it is a stand-alone event provided they first compete in the GT race. The invitational race offers no points.
Current GT1 tube frame competitors have two options:
1. Remain in GT1 with the allowance of 7.0-liter engines, lower weight formula and aerodynamic adjustments.
2. Move to GT2. GT2 tube frame rules are the same as the old GT1 tube frame rules with the following adjustments: 5.8-liter maximum displacement, 9:1 compression ratio, 390cfm carburetor, minimum weight of 2,600 lbs. and maximum tire section-width of 12" for 18" diameter wheels or 14.8" for 16" diameter wheels.
Unibody GT2 rules remain unchanged.
GT3 BMW M3 3.2 liter adds 40 lbs. (production transmission), 90 lbs. (five-speed, aftermarket transmission) and lowers rev limit from 8,500 RPM to 8,250 RPM.
Include World Challenge T1 cars in GT3 with the following allowances: 18" diameter tires with a maximum section width of 12", GT3-legal wings and potential minimum weight adjustments.
Existing tube-frame GT3 cars are permitted to compete through the 2000 Rolex 24 At Daytona. No new GT3 tube-frame cars will be homologated
Can-Am Championship rules remain unchanged.